As some may has noticed I’m using Vim on my daily basis - my .vimrc, a Vim configuration file, is not only hosted on GitHub but also being updated time to time. I’m coding using this text editor in Python, Go, JavaScript and I’ve even created all posts for this blog in Vim.


Because why not ;-)

Because it’s convenient. As an user, I only need to remember one set of commands and this knowledge allows me to work efficiently in many different domains - think of how much writing a Markdown document has in common with creating a Python script? Editing a code is mostly the same as editing a regular text and moving a cursor around the document.

Gimme examples

Let’s say you want to remove everything inside brackets because that function call needs different arguments. In a normal editor you probably need to grab a mouse, select every character inside parentheses (or use Ctrl + Shift + arrow combination) and press Delete on your keyboard. In Vim just type command di( while a cursor is anywhere inside brackets and text inside is gone. The same goes for other delimiters, like braces, chevrons, quotation marks and apostrophes.

A crucial thing is to understand how to compose a command.

Learning commands

Getting started with Vim is pretty hard. There are even (decades old) jokes about that:

Q: How to generate a random string?

A: Put a casual PC user in front of Vi and tell them to exit.

Or this one:

I’ve been using Vi for about 2 years now, mostly because I can’t figure out how to exit it.

(Note that Vim stands for Vi IMproved and is based on original Vi editor, dating back to 1976)

There is, however, a built in tutorial, called vimtutor which will guide a new user through the most common commands. But what’s next?

I’ve recently came up with a simple but really beneficial app on Google’s Play Store. It’s called simply Vim master and is available for free (but with ads). This is a quiz-like app with 3 difficulty settings (easy, normal and hard) and basic questions filtering. Questions are composed from two images - before and after running some command and an user task is to choose a correct command from 4 possibilities.

My favourite feature, however, is that after submitting an answer, the app will not only show the right one but also will explain what all of them mean - so in fact I can learn all of them at the same time. Plus, I can attempt a short quiz virtually anytime and anywhere as it only takes a few minutes to accomplish it.

Check out Vim master on Play Store!