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Discussion on: Time to End the vi/Emacs Debate

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serhuz profile image
Sergei Munovarov

I've been wondering why these editors are still around. I mean, we have IDEs and on rare occasions when there's a need for interactive git rebase it's easier to use nano.

Am I doing something wrong?

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realedwintorres profile image
Edwin Torres Author

It's probably because sometimes a simple text editor on a non-windows system is all you need. vi and Emacs are bundled with Linux. If you're not running X Windows, then you're not going to have a graphical IDE.

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serhuz profile image
Sergei Munovarov

So does it mean vi & emacs application is limited to editing configs via ssh?

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realedwintorres profile image
Edwin Torres Author

Both vi and Emacs are plain text editors. Use both to edit text files in the file system.

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xowap profile image
Rémy 🤖

Well, you're using nano... I never know how to do anything in nano, it's stressful. vim is much simpler and a pretty good editor to use over SSH

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rbanffy profile image
Ricardo Bánffy

Both Emacs and Vim are very lightweight and fast. Also, they are easy to use over terminals on remote computers.

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mgaruccio profile image
mgaruccio

Vi is ideal for editing config files, particularly inside of ssh sessions. It's also arguably just as easy to use as nano for things like rebases once you've learned the basic commands.

Beyond that the keybindings allow for some insanely quick text editing but require a bunch of time to learn, so not sure where the break-even point us in terms of time saved....

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zendhetmij profile image
zend

I have been using nano for year before thinking I needed more for remote access using ssh. For me I notices that after only 10 minutes in the vimtutor i was on the same level as my nano skills. maybe this gives an estimate for your breakeven point.

AFter that doing each day a few lessons on the vimtutor made it even easier to use vim and really saved more time editing.

I believe I'm still close to the level that vimtutor thought me, because honestly I don't need much more for my remote editing. maybe I picked up a a few tricks when I had specific needs that I googled. Programming I still prefer to do in a complete ide, simply because it saves time, just like vim does for me in the cli.

Saying that vim had a steep learning curve probably procrastinated my choice to try VIM. It actually is pretty easy and fast to learn, you just have to invest 10 minutes to get started using vimtutor. I think that learning the same tricks in other ide's took even more time, but the keystrokes are ofter the same i give you.

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dpasi314 profile image
Dante Pasionek

I find using an editor such as Vim makes it easier for me to program across multiple languages. Most of the IDEs I've used (with the exception of some like IntelliJ which may be primarily for Java also has Scala functionalities as well) It seems cluttered to me to have an IDE for each language I use when I can use the command line and Vim and get the same done. Academia forces me to be multi-lingual when it comes to programming. I've used Python, C/++, Java, Scala as well as a few query languages. Using IntelliJ, MS. Visual Studio, and PyCharm seems to be a lot. Using vim (with plugins) makes transitioning a lot easier for me.

That all being said, if you're developing in only a few languages then I would see why an IDE would be useful. I wouldn't necessarily say you're doing something wrong. At this point it's more of a question of taste versus functionality I feel.

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

Probably old-school devs and hipsters ;)