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March 12, 2018

I’m getting into Vim

Vim logo, a geometric sliver V over a green square.

If you’ve ever opened Vim, a Linux text editor, you might have wondered: “What is this and how do I get out of here?!” I know I have. I find nano much easier to use.

But here’s the thing: I’ve had some conversations on Twitter about this and I think I’m missing out on something. It sounds like it is… magical.

Where to start with Vim?

A book. You should start with a book. I’ve heard good things about Pro Vim, by Mark McDonnell, but I went ahead and got Vim for Humans, by Vincent Jousse. It seemed to be an easier first read.

I love it so far, with gems like:

It seems that everybody agrees that Vim is a very powerful editor. And I think that you will agree too if I say that, by default, [it] is totally unusable.

I feel better about being scared of that interface. If you have to remember one thing, try ESC + :wq, and that will save the file and exit Vim. There are many other options to get out of there quickly!

I’m looking forward to learning more about it and I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised. Will I love it more than Sublime Text?

Updates

2018-03-12 16:58

Jousse’s book shows how to install the Solarized theme. Even in dark mode, I felt that it looked terrible in my terminal. I switched to Dracula, instead. I like it a lot better.

2018-03-13 09:40

I’d be using this text editor mostly for HTML/CSS/JavaScript, Python, and Markdown. I’m looking for specific Markdown plugins like Vim Markdown runtime files. This article from Jon (?) on Swamp Hogg about Vim setup for Markdown had some good pointers.