I’ve been a vi user for many, many years. In fact, I used to program in C on a MUD using ed (vi is the fancy version of ed). However, it’s been a long time since I used vi as my editor of choice for development work. I use it for hacking scripts, editing files on servers, and general purpose text editing in a terminal window, but most of the time I use Eclipse for Java and TextMate for pretty much everything else.
A lot of people in the Rails community have migrated over to vim (and MacVim) in recent years, and I know there’s a very active community of programmers who are working hard to make it a better tool for developers. Anyway, I wanted to try out the Solarized color scheme people were talking about and Vim looked like the best option, so I decided to dive in, at least for Rails development.
I’ve been really impressed. Tim Pope’s rails.vim library for Rails developers is really, really good. The navigations features in particular are worth the price of entry. Then there’s the inherent goodness of Vim itself. Vim is difficult to approach initially, but it’s an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of someone who really knows how to use it. Even though I have been using it for a long time, I don’t really consider myself to be a Vim power user by any stretch of the imagination, because I’ve mainly used it to edit small files, one at a time.
Using Vim for project work is completely different, and that’s the area where my Vim skills need work. TextMate provides you with a file drawer with all of the files in your project, easy to use search across all the files in a project, and the ability to easily open multiple files in a tabbed editor and switch between them. The next step is to learn the tricks to accomplish the same things using Vim. Anyone seen a good tutorial?
Update: Just for fun, here’s my .vimrc.