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Discussion on: How to never touch your mouse again 🐭

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Valentin Radu • Edited

TL;DR I think the advantages of using the keyboard peak at one point (i.e. basic editing + a couple of commands you use often in your IDE) and everything beyond is more trouble than it worths.

I was one of those "geeks" obsessed with Vim. Here's what I think 10 years later:

  1. There are lots of other things easier to learn with greater impact on my productivity than the way I edit/navigate code.

  2. Never touching the mouse is overrated. With all the options we have now, from multi cursors support to trackpads, using the "mouse" + a couple of keyboard shortcuts might be faster than forcing yourself to the keyboard alone.

  3. Finally (and this might be either crazy, either just me, or both 😅 because I never heard anybody complaining about it), I found that many of the keyboard only solutions out there are engaging my "conscious" part of the brain. For example, Jumpy, when you choose the letter combination to jump to: search, read the combination on screen, press the combination on keyboard. For a split second there, it breaks my line of thought, whereas using the trackpad doesn't. It's as if my hands are autonomous, but picking/reading that combination is not.

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Gregory Witek

I found that many of the keyboard only solutions out there are engaging my "conscious" part of the brain

Interesting! For me it's the other way around - because normally I keep both hands on the keyboard, using most of my usual shortcuts is very mechanical. When I want to use a mouse though, I need to move my hand away from the keyboard, put it on a mouse, and then find the mouse cursor on my screen - and I believe it's the last part that distracts my train of thought, because I need to actively look around the screen to notice it.

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Valentin Radu

Ah, but that's not what I meant. I was not talking about the regular, run-of-the-mill, shortcuts that definitely live in the subconscious (after you practice enough), but of the few solution out there that make you dynamically pick keys to complete a task (have a look at how Jumpy works for reference). Also, long combination of keys (usually in Vim) can't live in my subconscious either. It's like, I always visualized the sequence before tapping it.

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Gregory Witek

Oh, I get it now, thanks for clarification!

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Olivier Guimbal Author • Edited

I agree, there are things that have greater impact on your productivity to learn.
But my experience was that at one point, when I started to really master most of the technology I use, not breaking my flow started to matter, and mouse was harming that.
Moreover, its not only about productivity, its about comfort. And sometimes, both are related.

As @leob mentioned, when I write "never touch", I dont really mean "never", but rather "almost never when writing code". We're not dealing with a lot of shortcuts to learn there, its only kind of arrow keys that you would place in the middle of your keyboard, plus a handful of other really useful stuff I do quite often (launching unit tests, ...). It's quite fast to learn, and it really changed the way I write code.

But again, I agree, there is an invisible line somewhere not to be crossed between "enough shortcuts" and "too many shortcuts", and I believe there is no one good answer for where it lies. I guess it depends on your feeling and your experience.