Logic’s Last Stand

February 13, 2009

Freeware Fridays – vim

Filed under: Computers, Freeware — Zurahn @ 11:57 pm

Programming dates back to before there were nice fancy GUIs, IDEs and all these pictures mucking things up. Back when we had white text on a black background–if we were lucky. When programming was programming.

OK, to be fair, that’s before I had ever used a computer, but still. What does this have to do with anything? Because this is entirely why vim is so polished.

vim is an extended version of the UNIX editor vi, designed for optimal efficiency in text editing via a keyboard. This can be seen in the fact that the characters HJKL are used as arrow keys.

vim with Wombat theme

Because of the integrated command line methodology, complex edits can be made very quickly and efficiently. Built-in RegEx is used for search and replace, which while for basic searches may seem excessive, it offers flexibility in the patternistic abilities.

It can be daunting, but there’s a lot there, and keyboard-only editing is quite freeing. Similarly, I’d recommend learning some command line editing, as it can be extremely helpful in a pinch, including in Windows where I’ve had to copy files from a corrupted folder that crashed explorer multiple times.

vim is available on all platforms, and in Linux will run either in its own graphical window with additional menus, or straight in the terminal. I also recommend the Wombat colour theme.

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