VIM – How I climbed the steep learning curve


Customization is an extension of one self.

First Impression
It didn’t look like much, and it didn’t do much either. The first time I fired up VIM I couldn’t type anything. After looking in the file menus to try to start a new python project, I came up with nothing. I immediately gave up.

I kept hearing from various sites and blogs how awesomely efficient VIM is, so I decided to give it another try, but this time, I came prepared.

I ran into the book A Byte of VIM, being a fan of A Byte of Python, I knew A Byte of VIM would be information rich and easy to follow. The first chapter was enough to get me comfortable with VIM.

The following is the minimum I learned to be able to start using VIM.

VIM has Modes
Normal Mode (esc key): Command Line-like mode – where files can be saved, created, opened.
Insert Mode ( i key): When In input mode, VIM is ready for typing.
Visual Mode(v key): Manipulates multiple lines of txt. This is slightly more advanced.

Managing files
The following commands are typed in normal Mode, esc will toggle Normal Mode

Opening a file
:e /where/the/file/is/stored
When opening a file, the path must be given

Saving a new file
:saveas /where/to/save/
First time-saving, a location(path) must be given

Saving an existing file
:w
It saves, or a simpler way to put it, it writes the current progress

Quitting
:q
Quits the program

Saving and Quitting
:wq
Writes and quits. NOTE: Many commands can be executed at the same time

Movement
In Normal mode you can move the cursor around by these simple keys.

h left
j down
k up
l right

These first commands helped me get the hang of VIM. It was a slow process and I was clumsy at first. I did notice, from going back to my old text editor, I was more clumsy with the mouse and normal editor. I also noticed, having to reach for the mouse to highlight text, right-click, or save my file, breaks concentration. I realized, having only used VIM only for a few days, I started to miss moving the cursor with h j k l.

I eventually gained momentum and was getting faster and faster the more I used VIM. I was becoming a super efficient coding machine! A few weeks later and I havent looked back…

There is so much VIM can do, this is just the tip of the ice berg.
Vim can be simple editor that offers crazy speed wile maintaining concentration. Or it can be a complex IDE that offers tons of features, from text completion to managing a whole project from within one window. It can also be found everywhere, from various operating systems to the command line. Anywhere there is a terminal, VIM is most likely installed and ready to use.

After reading more of A Byte of VIM, I found the following links useful for customizing VIM for a Python environment and turning it to an IDE.

Turning VIM into a modern python IDE
VIM setup – Tuning VIM to the environment
Ultimate Vim Python Setup

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