You Are Using Your Editor Wrong

And the wrong editor!

You always hear people saying their editor is the best, that everyone should use it and bla bla bla. I do that myself, Vim is the best, you should use it.

You also hear “you should do xx this way, you will be more productive”. And then your hear back from the other side “nah, it doesn’t matter, use anything, anyway, it will do the same job”.

Everyone has opinions about this, and I want to analyze it and give mine.

And you are not doing anything wrong, in fact, you are absolutely correct!

I seriously don’t think anyone is right, or wrong. It really depends on the person. I read an article about switching to Vim by the awesome Yehuda Katz (he is really awesome) stating that you should just open Vim and use it like a conventional editor (arrow keys, mouse, etc) the article.

That could have worked for him, and it has definitely worked for some of my friends also, but not for me, I had to follow the regular path of doing everything the vim way, disable arrow keys, disable mouse, and FORCE me to do everything on the way that Vim wanted me to do.

Where Am I At The Text Editing World

I am a Vim user, I use Vim for everything, I have Vim bindings on my Chrome, I love that the official OSX twitter client has Vim bindings, I love that Gmail and Sparrow (RIP) have it too. I don’t know how to navigate anything without j and k.

I consider myself good at Vim, I use Vim modal editing to extreme, I am not one of those guys you get astonished when you see typing, tho.

I have used plenty of text editors and IDEs in my life. Including Aptana (Rad Rails), Textmate, Red Car, Sublime Text 2, Chocolat, Emacs, etc. I have opinions about all of them, and wouldn’t feel unconfortable if I had to use some of the again (although there are some that I’d rather use a naked vi instead).

And What The Heck Is Your Opinion?

Each person has needs and preferences, and everyone is different, everyone has it’s own “soul mate” text editor. And while I do belive the text editor can affect the coding speed I don’t think it is significant to justify a text editor switch. This guys opinion is really valid and I agree in the most part.

You should choose your editor based on your personal preferences (and I bet my kidney you are already doing it). For some it must be beautiful (a lot of people switch to OS X because it’s beautiful), for some it must be dead simple, for some it should be platform independent.

The part I disagree from that post is that you can code in anything, even in kwrite. Even though you CAN, that really depends on the coder needs, I for example, NEED ctags and some sort of file jumping good. That given author does not need anything, so he can code in anything that accepts keyboard input and maybe has some syntax highlighting.

What I Am Trying To Say

I am trying to say that you can’t be wrong if you are getting your job done. If you feel like you can feel better on a different editor, or with more plugins, or on a massively slow crazy IDE then just go for it. People will always advocate for their own preferences and you can’t be judged for using something like kwrite, or eclipse, or emacs, or whatever (even though you will be), just get your job done right and good using the tools you feel more confortable with.

Explore your possibilities, I think everyone should give Vim and Emcas a try. Both are awesome and have some different ways of doing things. Vims modal editing and macros will blow your mind. And Emacs control-driven commands will make your finger hurt. If you are on OS X you should take a look on Coda and Chocolat, they have such a cute UI.

I want to finish this by listing my favorite pieces of work on text editing:

  • Vim (MacVim)
  • Sublime Text 2
  • Chocolat
  • Textmate
  • Emacs
  • Gedit