Archive for the 'General' Category

Oct 24 2006

Gvim session restore

Published by under General,Mac,vim

The ability to save and then restore a session (files being edit, windows, etc.) in vim appealed to me, but I couldn’t get it to work in Gvim on OS X. The documentation all said to call vim with -S {sessionFileName} to restore the session but in OS X, I haven’t figured out how to do that. A work around is to just start Gvim and then use “:source {sessionFileName}” to load and execute the session file. I’m sure there is some easy way to start an application with parameters in OS X, but I don’t know what it is. One way would be use applescript, I suppose. Or maybe automator, but there has to be something more native to the GUI.

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Oct 20 2006

Vim wins….

Published by under General,Mac,vim

I’m still getting my head around Vim as an ‘editor’ for daily use and think that I’m making progress. Overall I’m very impressed, but it does take a major investment to get reasonably competent in its use. It has an exceptionally good and accessible built in help system to find, remember and use the many command options Vim provides. And, the Vim mailing list is exceptionally helpful, full of interesting ideas, and well mannered. Best list that I’ve run into for a long while.

Vim is a text manipulation environment more than just an editor; extremely configurable and programmable; programmable with respect to its functions and with respect to manipulating text. Open as in open source. Expandable as is Unix and it builds on Unix capabilities and convention. So, I plan to continue and stop using BBedit regularly. A lot has been written on Vim so I’ll probably not write much more about it. Unless, I’m really astounded or subsequently decide to drop it.

Next, I plan to work up a decent look and style for this site. I’ll use Vim in that process so I’ll see how effective it is with php, css, and xhtml.

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Oct 17 2006

Vim – Second Look

Published by under General,Linux,Mac,vim

Well, I’m continuing with Vim. At least for now and as I get more time invested in understanding how it works, it gets less likely I’ll go back to BBedit. However in my more practical moments, I’m not sure this is a ‘good idea’. Vim comes with its own approach to text and hoard of keyboard based commands. Its heritage is a text terminal though the graphical wrapper (gvim) works well and does support use of the mouse and at least clipboard based interaction with other OS X programs. Apple’s command key is used and a reasonable set of mappings for most common Apple conventions are supplied with the mac version of Vim (compiling your own is said to be easy, but I’ve not tried that).

Modes continue to be an issue. Insert vs command mode is the main concern. This is one area in which Vim’s world view is at odds with the typical “modeless” editor. Text manipulation is pretty much split between insertion, originally just typing, and movement around with the ability to modify, e.g. delete, without switching to insert mode. There are a huge number of predefined key stroke combinations and the ability to remap them to fit your own way of working.

It is very nice to be able to use the same text editor on my linux servers and on my desktop. Get some efficiency there.

It has a simplified regular expression capability, but not Perl compatible which is a hassle for me. Good integration with CLI capabilities provided by OS X and an endless supply of scripts for common writing and coding tasks. I’ve not begun to test how effective Vim’s HTML, CSS, etc. tools are in comparison to BBedits. That could still sink this project.

So for now, I’ll say very capable, fully functioned text processor. Steep learning curve. Be prepared to adapt and learn for a while. But I knew that before I started!

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Oct 11 2006

Vim as my editor?

Published by under General,Linux,Mac,vim

Once upon a time, I tried to use emacs and tried to use vi(m) and gave up on both as too exceedingly complex! They both have seemingly infinite keystroke combinations and, worst of all, many modes with scant indication of what mode the program was in! That was several years ago when I was mainly using Linux. Now I mainly use OS X as my ‘desktop’ and Linux on servers. On OS X, there is a nice graphical text editor called BBedit which I’ve been using. Using only a subset of its features without much trouble, and I recently upgraded to the latest version which has significant improvements, text folding for one.

Despite, or maybe because of, the slickness of BBedit, I decided to get the latest version of vim and give it a try. I now have a little more time so I thought if I could learn its concepts, i.e. how vim ‘viewed’ text, it might make more sense and be a good alternative to BBedit. One that is open source and can be tailored to how I work. Well I’ve been at it off and on for 3 days now and confirm that vim has a steep learning curve, and while it can be tailored to my way of working, I first need to understand it. I don’t know if I’ll keep using it long enough to get a pay off but, it is ‘interesting’.

My uses for a text editor are primarily writing and maintaining
personal and technical notes,
perl and shell code,
xml, html, css documents,
Linux config files.

There are a lot of detailed capabilites that I use and will want to find in vim. Features such as:
Maintain indent level of prior line (autoindent).
Shift line indent left or right.
Intelligent insertion of xml/html tags.
Insertion of text segments (glossary).
Some of these are major and some minor and there are a lot I’ve not listed since there use is almost subconscious.

After three days, I’m continuing to use vim and have temporarily(?) put BBedit aside. There are a lot of powerful capabilities in vim but a lot of aggravation at this point. Insert mode being the most common irritation at present, but modes in general. Vim in itself is a different “mode” from the conventions used in OS X’s user interface. We’ll see how it goes.

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