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Why I Switched to vi/vim

The text editor I use daily is called vim (vi improved). It’s not a program for everybody, but it suits my needs well.

Vim is one of the most powerful text editor that exists. It's a program that you can configure to make it do anything. It has a steep learning curve, and can take months or years to master.

Vim can be used without the mouse, everything using key presses. My first experience with vi was really bad (I forgot everything about it) but once I got used to it and learned a couple of commands and a few ex commands I fell in love with vi.

You could wonder, when writing code why use a mouse at all?

Once you know the vim commands it's very easy to use. It's a great bonus that it can be used in the terminal, because it lets you quickly edit your system files or edit files remotely using ssh.

I was a fairly experienced computer user. I started using a computer around age 12 or so, taught myself basic programming when I was about 13, and eventually became rather adept at various aspects of the art of computing.

vim comic

I found myself needing to do a lot of system administration, and in the past I would have used nano, but I decided to try vim. I’d heard good things about it in the past but had never really tried it, so I was curious.

Here are some reasons I switched to vi/vim :

1) It is extremely fast
2) It is extremely efficient
3) It was already everywhere (this turns out to be very important).

Vim is probably installed on your computer, if you open a terminal you can type

$ vim
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

And to exit press ZQ. If in the rare situation it's not installed, it is available in your package manager. However, even on a commercial OS like Mac OS X vim is available by default.

If you are new to vim, you can practice here

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