20 - Published at:
a few seconds ago
[ Vim isn’t That Scary ]Unknown things can be frightening and usually cause resistance; Vim is no exception. Still, despite the fact that a Stack Overflow question about how to leave it has been accessed over one million times, Vim is still one of the most-used editors by developers around the world.
Many people who don’t use Vim are accustomed to other editors and think they don’t need to switch. They don’t want to leave their comfort zones. They think Vim takes too much time and effort to learn, and that it doesn’t make that much of a difference.
By taking the time to read this article, you’ve shown that you already have some type of interest in Vim. Before we see some resources that make it easier for you to learn it, let’s see the reasons why should we even consider using a text editor from the 1980s.
Why Should You Learn Vim in the First Place?
“Using Vim is one of the best choices I’ve made in my programming career.” — Lucas Oman
It’s understandable that you may need some reasons why learning Vim is worth the effort. After all, it may affect your entire workflow. Maybe it seems unreasonable to learn something that doesn’t look suitable for you.
Vim is used by almost everybody at thoughtbot, which is one of the most recommended companies in the Bay Area. That might make learning it seem more compelling. There are many other reasons worth mentioning. Let’s begin.
It‘s like playing a game
When you want to start playing a game, you don’t quit because it’s hard. You get more motivated to play it, because it gives you pleasure. Developing with Vim is similar. When you start to see that it’s fast and intuitive, you may start to enjoy the experience. You can get even more hooked on it once you learn some of the more advanced commands that increase your productivity.
No need for a mouse
Vim has many shortcuts to navigate through the code and files, which can help get rid of using your mouse at all. As a result, you don’t need to take your fingers off the keyboard, which speeds up your coding.
In other words, you can code in Vim as fast as you can type. Even the word “vim” means “energy” and “enthusiasm.”
Many powerful commands
The list of commands in Vim is pretty long. You don’t have to learn each one, all you have to do is grasp a few in the beginning and then learn new ones as you go. You may keep learning new and important things in Vim many years after your first lesson.
There are configurations you can use and change based on your preferences, and hundreds of color schemes you can download. Moreover, there are a large number of plugins that enhance your editor and make it as powerful as modern IDEs.
Modern IDEs have a lot of built-in features. They come with a lot of buttons and a rich user interface to make it easier for you to use all of their functionalities. Vim, on the other hand, is generally text-centered. This makes it easier for you to focus only on the code and get rid of other distracting icons and options that aren’t code-related.
It’s in every Linux machine
The vast majority of servers use Linux as their operating system. When you’re familiar with the basics of Vim, you’ll get more comfortable with deployments and server maintenance.
These aren’t the only reasons why Vim deserves your attention, but they are some of the most important. If they resonate with you, give learning Vim a chance.
Five Free Online Resources to Learn Vim
Here are a few resources you can use to help you in your learning journey. Don’t think you’ll learn everything related to Vim at once. There are people who have been using Vim for 20 years, and they’re still learning new things.
If you’re using a Unix-based machine, you can go to your shell and type “vimtutor.” If you’re on Windows, you can see some of the ways to open it here.
This will give you an excellent tutorial that’ll help you learn the basics of Vim in a few minutes. When you’re done, you’ll see why Vim is amazing.
This is an interactive tutorial that you can use to get a solid understanding of the basics. You can also use it to test your existing skills.
If you like learning while playing games, this is a great resource. In this game, you can learn to use Vim commands for navigation, which are essential for you to navigate the maze. You can always type :help for a hint.
Derek Wyatt has prepared an album with 13 videos teaching Vim. These videos have been seen several thousand times and are very valuable resources. If you’re still doubting if you should learn Vim, check out these videos for more reasons.
Print this cheat sheet and leave it next to your desk. From time to time, take a few seconds to look through the list and try to use something from it. This way you can memorize new commands on the go, and also reinforce the ones you already know.
If you’re new to Vim, then it’s better not to try using it immediately in your work projects, because you might get frustrated and never get back to it. You should only start it in your full-time job once you’re pretty comfortable.
So, try using Vim for a few days in a side project and see how it goes. If you enjoy it, you may be a Vim user for life.