Thursday, October 04, 2007

Seven Habits of Effective Text Editing - with Vim

I'm a big fan of vim. It's the Unix vi editor with a large number of improvements. The biggest thing I like about it is that it runs pretty much everywhere - Unix/Linux, Mac, and Windows. Having a powerful, familiar editor on Windows was a huge technological leap forward for me when I spent a lot of time on Windows, and it's still very useful on those occasions when I'm "stuck" on Windows.

I recently stumbled across an old article (Nov 2002) from the creator of vim, Bram Moolenaar, that describes how to use vim more effectively. The big thing I learned from it is how to use ctrl-N to complete things like identifiers in programming languages - e.g., type "read" and it expands to "readlines" and offers you a list of other options in your program. Granted, this is old hat for fancy-ass IDEs like Eclipse and Netbeans, but I had no idea that little old vim had it. I guess that's what they mean by vim means "vi-improved."


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