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OpenVim: Learn Vim in Your Browser (openvim.com)
237 points by gbrindisi on Sept 27, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

vimtutor was all it took for me and didn't take that long. Yes, it takes about 30 minutes to get through, but I used it off and on as a refresher as I was getting more accustomed to using vim. Here I am half a year later I do almost all of my text editing using GVim. My advice would be to gradually ease into the advanced commands and plugins and not to immediately try and fix every problem you come across where vim doesn't behave like you would expect coming from other editors.

I found that vimemu's graphical tutorial cheatsheets were a great, incremental way to get accustomed vim bindings. I can't speak to how accurate they are to the "real" vi/vim, but they've helped me get used to Sublime's vintage mode.

There are 7 "lessons". I just printed them out and stuck a new one in front of my keyboard every week or so.


Okay, that is immensely helpful. It would be useful if there was an on-screen keyboard that looked like that for OpenVim.

You got good at Vim because you used it for over 6 months, not because it had any plugins turned off.

A distro like https://github.com/carlhuda/janus provides sensible training wheels.

I wasn't suggesting not to use any plugins, just to instead use the editor's basic commands first. It is really distracting trying to fix everything at once when you should focus on using the editor.

How is this supposed to help anyone exactly? Many commands simply don't work (^ or $ to name just two). People: skip this and use vim's :help.

This is an extremely common problem in vim-like implementations that aren't actually vim. Vim emulators in IDEs are a huge culprit for this. Just missing one command can be very painful (for example this website doesn't enable using / as a movement command). In the end I learned to always use vim itself.

Yes, I'd go as far as suggesting pure terminal vim-full install with its help files and a minimal config.

Author here. Sorry about that. I didn't mean that this should get into the wild this fast.

I fixed the link (I had renamed Bitbucket repository).

Also, it is not supposed to cover the whole of Vim. Just enough to get you started without getting scared away immediately.

Also, thanks for the $ (it should work mostly but I haven't covered all the different browsers; try alt-gr+4)

I reported an issue related to the $ command:


^ is also a handy shortcut, and usually more useful for programmers than 0. It goes to the first non-whitespace character in a line.

I use _ for that. It's easier to type (at least in spanish keyboards).

Thank you. As I'm not experienced user of Vim myself, this kind of feedback is valuable.

I always just use I (capital i) for that.

I've tried to learn vi for years. The simplicity of this tutorial is the first thing that allowed me to "get it." Maybe I'm just ready at last, but the quick tutorial gave me just enough beyond what I needed to know before (i/r/:wq) to grasp its power. I've tripled my vi knowledge without being intimidated.

Years didn't do it but less than 40 minutes (since this was published) got you in. I'm either missing something or you haven't put your time to good use.

Try vimtutor in your terminal. It's supposed to take 30 minutes.

You'll miss a lot of things from the tutorial the first time but you can come back to it as often as needed. You also shouldn't go any further than the tutorial until everything in it makes sense. Once you're at that point, you'll be autonomous for finding new commands and a happy vim user.

I may sound mad but seriously, what's with the a-web-app-for-everything madness?

Point taken, however I work sometimes in a large open plan office with administered win7 pcs and command prompt disabled. I can use this site to do some practice for a ten minute burst with headphones on just as an 'interaction break'.

Sounds like someone pissed in your Wheaties this morning. Anything to get more people to give vim/the vim style of doing things a chance is always cool in my book.

The reason it being on web is that it's a low barrier to try out, and it concentrates on the first steps; in my opinion, systems should provide a gradually progressive way to learn them.

I love the concept but have two gripes.

1) the text "line in" for reading comes in too slow. I want the whole text up on the screen in a flash so I can concentrate on reading. I usually either find I'm faster than the "line in" animation OR the line in is too distracting to read around.

2) with respect to the tutorials, at the end of each section I should have all the new commands "unlocked" so I can `h` `j` `k` `l` until I'm 100% comfortable with what each key does.

Thanks for the feedback.

1) you can press any key to show rest of the text quickly. (not exactly on a flash always)

2) I considered adding a sandbox view on the same page so that user could make herself comfortable but decided against it, as I wanted to keep things simple. So this kind of restricted command set in the actual tutorial might be a nice solution; I haven't done it yet since it makes the flow non-linear; I might make the tutorial more interactive in other aspects, but it needs still thinking. Good point, anyway.

Nice, despite all the nay saying, it's a good and low barrier intro to what always had me wondering, what's so special about vim and the two modes?

Good job.

You mean, why is modal special? Vim has multiple modes to make it easier to perform certain sets of operations. The commands for insertion of text are separated from the command for manipulating the text. It's been years since I've used vim but it certainly does make aspects of a keyboard driven editor easier on the hands than emacs does.

I am happy to hear you like it!

For those who would like to try emacs in their browser, there is ymacs, a emacs like editor implemented in javascript. It's not specifically a tutorial, but it's good enough to try out the basics.


IMO this is only justified if downloading the 40mb of emacs is taking a long time :)

I am now near ten years of daily vim usage, maybe I am not like the others but I still do not use hjkl to move around. I do not think hjkl should be in a first place of an introduction to Vim for coders. Instead, I would explain about / ? * # > < and :s, which are the basic for editing code.

Thanks for the list of commands you find valuable. * and # are supported but not in the tutorial yet.

Not everything does work properly with non qwerty keyboards: for instance '0' doesn't work in the sandbox for an be-latin keyboard (tough it works in the tutorial), tough I suppose it doesn't work for every keyboard that need press the maj key to produce a number.

I had to turn of Firefox's Find As You Type to make it work, but well worth it!

I have gone so far as to FTP files to myself to edit on a more familiar editor, then FTP'd them back to the target machine rather than use vi, so it's high time I internalized the basics.

I keep triggering vimium (Chrome) commands.. :)

But yeah this is nice. I consider myself proficient with vim and use it daily for a year but I'd like to try such a tool for other editors. Say TextMate in Ruby mode or emacs..

It's not working for me on Chrome Stable 14.0.835.186 m. The report bug link gives me a 404.

Looks like it works fine on Firefox 6.0.2, though.

I fixed the report bug link. Thanks!

The "vim hero" idea you mentioned - similar to this? http://vimgolf.com/

Not exactly but it's one thing that was on the todo list; so now I don't need to implement that :)

vimhero would be a single player game for practicing constantly progressing challenges; of course, the idea might just not work.

I was just looking for something like this the other day. Good timing.

Same here, I am finally forcing my head into vim. I always knew that it was a good investment, but always stopped on the hjkl lesson.

This is heartening to hear. This kind of reception makes it all worthwhile.

I found it great, except part 2 of the tutorial is kinda missing.

Wow. This is really helpful. I have always wanted to learn vim.

Does anyone else have problems with Vim on AZERTY keyboards? It's really annoying that I have to hold shift to enter numbers.

This is a great start point for anyone wanting to learn vim!

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