Vim: Hands-on Programming

June 28, 2012

I have been writing code of one form or another for roughly six years. During this time, I have used a wide variety of text editing tools. Beginning with the internal MELScript editor within Autodesk (then Alias) Maya, the most limited, non-pure-command-line editor in memory, I also used the unbeloved notepad.exe. Upon discovery of syntax highlighting, I switched between tools like BBEdit/TextWrangler, Notepad++, and IDLE.

These tools were useful while I was working with animation packages, but were cast aside in favor of true IDEs like Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse once I began learning application development. The advantage was clearly in the project management and compiler integration. “Smarter tools for the shrinking brain”

I enjoy a challenge as much as I enjoy finding ways to improve both the quality and efficiency of the work that I do. As it so happens, there is an editor that provides both, if perhaps in a somewhat indirect fashion. Vim is an editor that discourages the use of any input other than a keyboard to control the navigation and manipulation of source files. Upon first use, decyphering Vim is like trying to solve the riddle of the missing sock. Though, after taking the time to explore the wealth of training material available, a novice user can see performance gains that go beyond editing in Vim.

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