A couple of times recently i’ve found myself doing
<ESC>:wq in the internet instead of pressing the submit button. I don’t use Vim very much at the moment – really only to make Git commits – but i’ve had enough of a taste that i feel it’s something i want to learn properly.
For a few months i’ve been searching for a text editor that i can use both on the Mac at work, and Linux on my netbook and PC at home. TextMate is a wonderful thing, but there is no decent Linux equivalent. A colleague and i started writing OpenMate – an open source cross platform equivalent to TextMate … but it’s hard! I enjoy gedit but failed to get gedit installed at work. I’ve tried NetBeans and jEdit but didn’t like them much, and they feel too big and clunky for a netbook.
After a little bit of reading about Vim i have become very excited. More excited that i’ve ever felt about a text editor before! I’ve realised that my conception of Vim has been wrong. I used to press
i straight away to get into Insert mode, and stay there until i wanted to perform a command, in which case i’d press
<ESC> followed by the command. Now i realise that a better way to use it is to be in ‘Normal’ mode most of the time, press
i to enter Insert mode very briefly, and press
<ESC> as soon as i’ve finished inserting.
This afternoon i discovered
vimtutor and have been really enjoying it! You can run it on any Unix/Linux based system; just type
vimtutor at the command line. It takes you through every command, at your own pace. It gives you samples of text to correct, using the commands you have just learnt. It’s actually quite fun and demonstrates the power of Vim very effectively!
At the moment i’m still muttering everything as i go, like “delete … 3 … words” as i very slowly type
d3w and i’m exclaiming in delight at almost everything i learn – like – “Wow! That’s so clever!” I’m sure soon enough i’ll be able to use it effectively without making a lot of noise about it!
It is interesting learning it for Dvorak, but not too difficult. The up and down keys are in my left hand, and the left and right keys are in my right hand. They all actually fit rather neatly under my hands and feel intuitive even though they are not all in a line together. To be honest, i think i probably prefer it to the way it works under Qwerty.
It’s ridiculous how exciting this feels to me! Perhaps it’s the sense of moving up another level in the geek hierarchy! :D