Revisiting my emacs and Vim/nvi post

Software

Last November I thought aloud about my relationship with the Vim and nvi text editors. I said that I’d written millions of words in them, but that I felt like I hadn’t progressed beyond an intermediate user of either.

I hinted that I was trialling GNU Emacs as an alternative. I went absolutely all in, and thanks to the excellent MELPA repository I’ve now consolidated a ton of stuff into it, from RSS to IRC. Most valuable of all, Org Mode replaced nvALT, one of my last Mac-only holdout applications that I couldn’t run on FreeBSD. It was like stepping into the proverbial lolly store.

(Every so often I realise just how much of our industry is based around abbreviations and acronyms. That paragraph had no fewer than six).

But as the emacs joke goes about it being a great OS that’s missing a text editor, I somehow moved back to Vim for writing. Using another editor full time made me re-evaluate the harsh criticism I levelled at myself as a Vim user. Turns out I had better muscle memory, and understood the Vim way of doing things more than I expected; to the point where even using the Evil Mode in Emacs didn’t do it for me.

Just as everyone has their own way of learning, I’ve also since discovered Drew Neil’s Practical Vim, Modern Vim, and VimCasts. The built-in Vim tutorial is comprehensive, but I grok his explanations far more. I feel as though I’ve levelled up significantly since I wrote that last post. I might do a series about it at some point.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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