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Vim: From Essentials to Mastery (billodom.com)
14 points by mace 1531 days ago | 4 comments

I want to use Vim, but there are a few specific limitations I can't get past, in order of importance:

NerdTree is hard to use. Other editors I've used (TextMate, IntelliJ, RubyMine) have a simple "project drawer" that doesn't think it's a text buffer. That doesn't accidentally get replaced with the contents of a file or accidentally closed. What am I missing here?

Project-wide find and replace isn't nice. Vim is great at single file replacements, but it's not clear to me how to do a project-wide search that's anywhere near as productive as RubyMine. In RubyMine you can view a dialog of all the candidate replacements and selectively include/exclude. You can quickly hop between search results and fly through the code. You can preserve case, which does the replacement in a case insensitive way without turning upper case to lower case and vice versa.

I can't find a way of running focused Rspecs that I like. I just want to put the cursor inside a spec or describe block, hit a key, and then pop up a terminal at the bottom of the screen where I see the output of the spec runner. I don't want a quickfix buffer... because if there are stack traces that seems to obscure them. I tried to roll something together with ConqueTerm but it insisted on moving my cursor into the spec output buffer, which slowed me down.

The language plugins aren't syntax aware. In RubyMine I can hit ctrl-w to expand the selection to the next node of the syntax tree. This is incredibly useful for quickly selecting arbitrary regions of code. I know text-objects can get you some of the way there, but they force you to choose a specific type of region, rather than just progressively selecting higher nodes on the syntax tree.

Finally, moving by word doesn't respect camelCase or underscore word boundaries. Maybe this can be fixed?

I don't mind the learning curve. I like a lot of the concepts that Vim brings to the table. But I just can't get past these issues. I know I may be able to learn Vimscript and fix all these things, but so far it hasn't seemed worth it.


I've tried rubymine, and yes the integration with tests is really good. It's really fast when working with tests: run a test and point and click to the source where it fails from the stacktraces. I used it for a big refactoration of a rails app that would have taken longer time otherwise.

I switched to vim though because of some reasons (I was previously an emacs user).

1. less resource intensive (I had to upgrade to an SSD to even run RubyMine on my late 2008 (then top of the line) macbook pro. Running any command in VIM is almost instant, I never have to wait and I hate having to wait for the machine to do something. I even run the terminal in non-anti-alias because I like a 9pt monaco and that it's significantly faster than using an anti-aliased font. mrxvt is even faster, it's crazy fast scrolling through a large logfile, but then I occasionally have to copy and paste and doing that in OSX X11 sucks.

2. I want to use the mouse as little as possible (you cant get this with an IDE)

3. RubyMine could not understand all ruby code so the autocomplete stuff is for me less useful than in vim, where it's super-fast.

4. Less abstraction when working with code. If I really needed an IDE, I'd rather code in smalltalk where the runtime is the IDE.

5. Like having an almost stock editor running so that it's easy to stay productive on any computer.

A great tip that I gathered from http://http://peepcode.com/products/play-by-play-bernhardt is to map your current test to a key:

    :map ,t :!ruby -I test test/functional/foo_test.rb -n test_whatever<CR>
It's even better when not in a rails project so the whole stack doesn't have to spin up. Boom! instant test result after a couple of seconds.

I've also mapped ,m to NerdTreeToggle, works fine and it remembers the state of the project file.


This isn't particularly useful in the point-by-point slideshow form that was obviously designed for someone to be saying something about most of the points.



It seems that this was from a presentation at StrangeLoop 2011 (never heard of it before) that occured from 18 to 20 of September (https://thestrangeloop.com/news/11/01/27/strange-loop-2011) -- it ended yesterday!

Recordings will be available (http://groups.google.com/group/cascalog-user/msg/d357e51cbbb...), I just hope I remember to come back and check for them.

There are some other slide decks available from the conference (http://lanyrd.com/2011/strange-loop/coverage/); some other presentations seem interesting.

There is also another awesome slide deck (this time with annotations) from another presentation from Bill Odom, regarding key mappings: http://billodom.com/talks/vim-key-mapping.pdf


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