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#1 mkoop  Icon User is offline

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Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 12:48 PM

Good afternoon,

I have never developed in anything but eclipse,VB,jEdit IDE's.
I am working a lot at command line in my new job so I am looking at learning vim or emacs (or both).

I understand that VIM is installed on every UNIX/Linux machine so when connecting remotely it is good to know.

Knowing virtually nothing about either of these IDE's I can essentially have any I choose installed on my work pc but for high level productivity however long down the road, I am trying to make the best decision. I figured I would pose a few questions to those of you who have been working in the industry longer than I.

Which would you choose to learn as an entry level developer?
Would you invest the time in learning both?
Which is more predominately used in the industry?

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Replies To: Text editor selection

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:09 PM

I prefer vi/vim. To me, it seems simpler to learn, the modal interface makes more sense to me, and I like that I'm not spending a lot of time with my little fingers on the control and meta keys - after a while, I find that emacs hurts a little.

I'd say learn them both. Start with vi - it's simpler to work with - and give it about six months of good usage, then switch over to emacs and try that for the same six months. You'll have a pretty good idea of what works for you after that.
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#3 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:11 PM

I use Emacs and I love it. It is so insanely powerful and flexible that there is virtually nothing that you can't make it do for you. It goes *way* beyond the realm of text editors and flies into the world of IDEs. I use Emacs for all of the development I do regardless of language. I use it to manage my Git repositories, edit configuration files, and anything else remotely text/development related. Hell, I can even run a shell inside of emacs so I don't have to switch to my terminal emulator for anything.

I think Vim is great as well. Most developers use Vim these days, but still a large chunk use Emacs. Vim is more lightweight than Emacs, but that is mostly irrelevant these days, with our technology. That said, vi *is* installed on everything, while that isn't always the case for Emacs. Because of that, I learned enough Vi/m to get me by if I need to edit remotely and don't have the ability to install Emacs.

It mostly depends on what you want. If you want a lightweight text editor, Vim is nice. If you want a text editor that can do anything you could possibly imagine, then Emacs is an excellent option. I weighed my options and chose Emacs.

Did I mention that the majority of Emacs is written in a custom Lisp called 'elisp'? It's also the configuration language. It's what makes Emacs so powerful. Emacs basically becomes a full-on programming language with a lovely text editor interface. :)
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:23 PM

Quote

If you want a text editor that can do anything you could possibly imagine, then Emacs is an excellent option.


But Raynes, I've already got an operating system, why do I need a second one? :)
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#5 CapC  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:27 PM

I agree with Jon, start with vi/m -- try it for a half year to a year. Then try emacs for the same time. Both are very powerful tools, and EITHER of them in the hands of a well rounded and educated developer WILL without a doubt SIGNIFICANTLY increase your productivity.

Though I did read a study somewhere, that tested a control group of computer scientists where in findings depicted 80% of emacs users within the first year are on par with the productivity of long term (5-10 year) vi/m users. However the small margin of vi/m power users are difficult to keep up with in terms productivity. I will try to find the reported and post it tonight.
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#6 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Post icon  Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:39 PM

Jon's first point is really the only one that matters - which ever one you're more productive and comfortable in is the one you should use. Luckily this hasn't become a religious editor war.

This post has been edited by xclite: 26 October 2011 - 01:39 PM

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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:40 PM

Really, one of the two will work for you. If you're like me, you'll find Emacs somewhat infuriating and you'll feel at home in vi(m). If you're like Raynes, you'll find the mode-switching intolerable and you'll prefer Emacs.
In both cases, you have to invest a certain amount of time in getting comfortable with the command set, and then you're in, so it's really just a matter of which interface suits you.

Emacs does have a vi mode, but so far it hasn't made it for me. Doesn't seem to be quite done yet.
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#8 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:44 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 26 October 2011 - 09:23 PM, said:

Quote

If you want a text editor that can do anything you could possibly imagine, then Emacs is an excellent option.


But Raynes, I've already got an operating system, why do I need a second one? :)


Because Emacs is a better one. ;)
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#9 CapC  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

For those of you who favor emacs -

Do you use the standard emacs keyset? I have been looking into the ergoemacs keyset conversion and am curious what others think:
http://xahlee.org/em...keybinding.html
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#10 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Text editor selection

Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:21 PM

I use Emacs's regular keybindings + some mac-specific bindings that Cocoa Emacs gives me (such as mac-native copy+paste keybindings) occasionally. I have ctrl and capslock switched though.
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