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Playing With VIM

For a while I liked playing with VS Code but I grew tired of it because it autocompletes everything, to the extent that you end up deleting rather than writing code. For a while I was playing with Atom but Github have decided to retire that application so I decided to look for an alternative and that’s when I came across VIM once more.

Through modern eyes VIM looks like a simple, featureless app but if you dig beneath the surface then you see that it is a fully featured IDE, just waiting to be woken up, part by part.

One of the unique selling points of VIM is that it is designed for a mouseless workflow. It is designed so that, for a touch typist, they can work at the speed of thought, rather than the speed of their IDE, mouse, arrow keys and more.

You have a command mode, where you move around with the hjkl keys. These are familiar to editors (JKL for rewind, pause, play) (at various speeds).

There are three key modes. Command, Insert and visual. You switch by typing i or v to go from command to insert or visual, and escape to revert to command mode. I find it fiddly and it does require for me to be focused but I can see how such a tool would be fun to use in the near future. I want to become fluent with it for two reasons. The first is that I like a challenge, and I feel that by learning this IDE I will be a better coder because I will be ready to work on any machine and two, because by not helping me as much, the code is encouraging me to think critically about the code I write, and how it is structured.

If the IDE does all the work for me then I am just assisting it, but I want the situation to be reversed. I want to be assisted by the software. I want to understand what I, and it, are doing. I also want to know that if I am asked a question in an interview I can answer, at least theoretically, about how to resolve a task.

And Finally

In the 90s educational systems said that I had terrible hand writing so someone suggested that I use a computer so I did. At the time I used Word Perfect, a DOS based word processor, where you had keyboard shortcuts functions keys and more. Many of the features that we find in VIM remind me of the functionality I knew of when using WordPerfect. Wordperfect dates back to 1979. That’s it for now.

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