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More About VIM
Advantages of VIM
If you count the number of times you shift your hand between the keyboard and the mouse in a single day once you use VIM editor and compare the same with the figure when you don’t use it, you’ll realize why it is good to avoid it whenever possible. This is just the beginning. Moving on we will come across plenty of other reasons for that as well. Here, we look into each of various different aspects one by one.
1. VIM Modes
Now the question that plagues your mind must be why do they have modes in VIM at all? We need to answer this question in the most simplest of words though the usage of VIM initially could resemble not very normal to begin with. But, the question again is, what exactly does it mean? This should be clearer if emphasized with the help of a simple example. You must note that the developers primary goal behind designing of VIM was to make it accessible without any glitch from even within the keyboard. It’s normal mode helps you to execute command whereas and that “insert” mode is where you are simply writing the text. You can switch between the two modes any time.
2. Ease of Navigating through Modes
Have you ever given a thought about how the countless traditional editors differentiates between writing texts and commands? The simple answer is, they make use of lots of different keyboard shortcuts and graphical menus. The problem is that these are not scaled. At the very beginning, a special attention must be given to the fact that there are hundreds of commands to deal with which needs menus to be created as well. All of these activities makes it pretty much cluttered and messy to handle. And last but not the least, you are not to forget the time you spend to customize them, this single handed presents you the most formidable of obstacles to overcome. In VIM, you could do all of these by simply running this command :%s/from/to/g in the normal mode So, it is as simple as this.
3. Effective Customisation
Suppose you want to run this procedure of substitution for only about the first twenty lines out of the entire text you have for editing and not only that, you want to have a yes/no confirmation too for exactly those lines too. Traditional editors, mostly would be performing this yes/no check without much of a fuss of course. You have “Replace all” to do that job for you, but you must make a note of it that this needs a massive search before anything and then you can use the mouse to click on the option (or use a long series of keys using the keyboard). Then you face the challenge of “Replacing” them for only the first ten lines. VIM will allow you do this in a jiffy by running this simple command in the “normal” mode: run :0,10s/from/to/gc . The new c option we are using means we want a ‘c’onfirmation message for every replace. command (normal) modes and writing (insert) modes are so well cut out in VIM and so well distinguished that it’s almost a child’s play to shift between the two modes without much trouble. It’s true that the first steps while you begin using VIM makes it appear a bit strange but once you use it for a while and seen how it performs, it certainly starts to make sense.
4. Fast to Learn
The best part is that these core concepts will help you to understand all you need to know on how to use Vim. Since you now understand the difference between normal mode and insert mode, you can look up the various commands you can run in the normal mode, and you can immediately learn them and then proceed to apply those acquired skills while you work. Compare that to learning new commands in traditional editors which generally means having to read a lot of documentation, searching a lot of menus, a lot of trial & error procedures to be followed or to ask someone for that elusive help! If you ask for my personal opinion, then I must say that the names of the respective modes in VIM isn’t that suitable.
For me personally, “insert” mode makes more sense if I put it as “writing” mode and also if I replace and make “normal” made as “rewriting” mode, which I believe many others would be facing the same problem like I do! Though we suggest readers to refrain from doing such, specifically to those beginners and learners out there, because it may lead to confusion and bring in more trouble and tension than convenience. You must remember here to end commands in VIM with an Enter key just to let it know that the entire command has been written, when working in the “normal” mode.
5. “O” Commands Functionality
Another of those salient feature of VIM editor is the upper and lower case ‘o’ commands, which are opposite in the direction in which they open the line. It’s a single character that we have to change, what’s the most precise and effective way of making it change? You would think of four steps normally, which involves pressing ï, changing and switching modes and all that hassle. But, instead of that four laborious steps for such a simple change we need to see if we can find something better? You can use the s key – s for ‘s’ubstitute. 1.Moving your cursor over to “r”and then pressing “s”” followed by typing “d” and finally returning back to the normal mode may not appear to be saving a lot of time for us right at this very moment. But, you need to think about it in a broader perspective. Imagine having to repeat this simple process multiple times in a single work day! Completing an operation as tiring and as tedious with as much promptness possible is beneficial because it helps us direct our energies to something more creative and something more productive aspects than the editor itself. It may not be beneficial if you think of doing it faster, but it certainly benefits you by increasing your speed of work as a whole, with just this simple but fastest change in just one aspect of your working procedure.
5. Ease of Use
To “remember” everything that is there in VIM, like that of mode change and all to make it literally in your fingertips, requires a bit of trying and practice for sure, a lot less effort is actually needed for this. You should make no mistake that Vim was infact brought into being in the first place for professionals who are very much familiar and well acquainted and with the keyboard. The simple reason why this is so is that we need to work and spend a big chunk of our work time into editing tasks, which make massive use of the keyboard and it is obvious that the faster we are capable of typing, the faster our chance of completing our task, grows.