Perl Editors: Vim

2016-11-02 10:06:36 admin Perl Interests 0 Comments

Vim is a very powerful text editor popular in the Perl community. As far as text editors go, it brings a lot to the table so we decided to cover more of it in an article. Vim was written by Bram Moolenaar, a Dutch computer prorgammer and was first released in 1991. In the past 25 years it went through 25 versions, the latest being version 8, released last month, on the 3rd of October. It’s free and open source. You can download it from it’s official website. Although it was originally available only on the Unix operating systems it now supports many other platforms. The 2015 Stack Overflow Developer Survey showed that it was the third most popular text editor (behind Sublime and Notepad ++).

Its name was originally an acronym for Vi IMination, but it was changed starting with version 2 in 1993 to Vi IMproved, relating to the fact that Vim is an extended version of the vi editor. One of the big advantages of using Vim, and one of the reasons that so many people like it, is the fact that it can be highly customizable. As a user you can define macros, making every Vim editor highly personalized to the users workflow. It’s a product that matches your needs.  There are quite a few reasons to use Vim, we’re going to list a few of the most popular ones, like:

  • Customizable and with plenty of plugins. Being open source there are quite a few of them, you can check out a full directory here.

  • No mouse functionality; although to some people this might seem as a downside, the fact that your fingers never have to leave your keyboard maximizes productivity and coding time

  • The use of registers allow you to copy text and macros that record keystrokes for playback. These registers remain between uses of Vim so they save you time when executing certain text.

  • It has powerful search and replace functions, which again can save you a lot of time.

Vim is first and foremost all about efficiency, it allows you to create a unique and personal coding environment allowing you to automate as many tasks as possible. Better and faster results with less coding time. Of course, there are also downsides to Vim (just like with everything else). It’s not ideal for the faint of heart as it has a steep learning curve, you have to hang in there at the beginning.  Also the fact that it’s mouseless can be something difficult to get used to.

Do you use VIM or planning to? What other editors interest you?

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