Oct 26, 2010

On Vim again

There's only 10 kinds of people, those who use Vim, and those who use Emacs.

Two months ago I don't know whether I'm wrong on choosing Vim as my editor, now I know I made a right decision, one of those few right decisions in my life.

Emacs can do everything, except editing texts, everyone knows it. But I didn't expect that I can't simply *copy a line* before I learned to use it. I can copy a line by press y twice in Vim by one finger while the other hand is filling my mouth with cookies; I need to move the cursor to the beginning of a line, press C-S-e, then press M-w to copy the damn line.

Of course I can write a macro and map the copy-line macro to my favorite keys. Yes, I can also write a text editor myself. Those two doesn't have much differences, no?

Be serious: I really wrote a macro to do that, the problem is when I tried to map it to some key I failed - there's no reasonable key combination left for me to use. C-y? that's for yank, C-c? that's a common prefix, etc. etc. I don't want to match copy-line to something like C-c C-t C-y, that just won't save my time and stupid.

Luckily Emacs do leave some key combination possibilities for me, so I can quick access find file/buffer functions. I'd say ido is really awesome, that's what I miss when I switch back to Vim. Vim lacks a decent file navigator. FuzzyFinder is cool, but it's turtle slow on large project.

I also miss ruby-test-mode, which can do exactly the same thing but faster than my little rubytest.vim.

Emacs follows totally different philosophy than Vim: Emacs included everything in itself, while Vim leave everything but editing to others. An example is Tramp. Tramp is really cool because you can prefix the file name with 'su::/' or 'su:root@hostfoo' when you want to edit a file you have no privileges or on a remote server, it's not convenient to do the same thing in Vim. But I found myself more like to open a terminal and sudo vim /etc/hosts. (btw. emacs in console sucks.) I believe Emacs fits certain people, people who like to do everything in one place.

Sometimes I think Emacs is for people who're using poor window manager. Because if you're using something like Gnom's default metacity, it's hard to create a new console, do something there while reading stuff in your text editor, then switch back to your editor. In short, most window managers doesn't allow you to manipulate layout between your editor and task windows easily. But if you're using tiling window manager like XMonad, I think Vim is the best fit because you can always do something in a new window easily while looking at your editor.

Emacs is cool. I just like Vim more.


  1. one thing I couldn't agree more. C-c C-c, ctrl + shift, C-A, these drive me crazy.

  2. C-k C-y, or C-k C-/ copies one line...