How I learned to Love vim and Ditched Eclipse
Posted by Guy Naor Thu, 08 Mar 2007 13:03:00 GMT
For the longest time, since starting to work with Ruby and Rails, I used Eclipse with RadRails and RDT for coding. It's a pretty good IDE as far as IDEs go, and has nice Ruby/Rails tools to make development a lot easier. It also has a VERY nice subversion interface. One of the best I've seen as far as working the way I like to work.
On the down-side, it's a performance hog and the editor itself is so-so in features.
As I also do system admin chores on remote computers, I always use vi as well. And for many quick and dirty tasks, I use it even localy. Developing on a Linux machine, I always have some terminal windows open. Slowly I was pulled to do more things with vim, until I realized I prefer being in it than in Eclipse. Now I spend 90% of my time in vi, and most of my projects never even see Eclipse.
Why did I switch? First and foremost vi as an editor is really good. And lets keep the vi/emacs wars for another time. I'm sure emacs is a really good editor as well. I just have to choose my tools. Can't use all of them. Second thing is speed. I NEVER have to wait for vi. It's always super fast and super responsive.
But to make vi really useful with ruby and rails, some additions are needed. After all, I want synax highlighting, macros, easy way to open files, etc... So here is a list of vim scripts/plugins I use and recommed:
There are many more additions and plugins on the vim site. Please note that some require the newer vim 7 to work.
Another option is getting the rails-vim gem: sudo gem install vim-ruby. Please note you have to then run the vim-ruby-install.rb script to complete installation.
So now that we have vim loaded with the additions, where do we start? Granted, the learning curve is steep! And don't get me started on using the esc key so much, that I keep doing it in Eclipse ;-). But as the editor is our main tool of work, learning it pays for itself later with productivity. vim has a lot of help written for it, and you can access it from within vim, but I prefer browsing it on the internet. So start with this short tutorial, and then bookmark the main help file. And for the rails related parts, take a look here. Some of the things it does are just awesome. I open files faster with :Rfind than on a tree in the IDE browser! And check out the partial extraction. That one is unbelievable.
vim also has the GUI version in gvim. And there you can open multiple tabs and have an IDE like file browser. Use that if you are more comfortable with the mouse and a real GUI. It's also easier to stasrt with as it has menus for the more common commands.
One thing I did that really got me into more advanced editing, is deciding that whenever I want to do something, and I don't know how to best do it, I stop resorting to hacking a solution with the things I know, and look for the real solution. In a few short weeks I learned more than in the last 5 years...
So give vi a try. Give yourself some learning time, and you'll never look back!
BTW, I also use svn from the command line. I'ts so much faster than from Eclipse that I don't mind the few keystrokes it takes to get things done. It's so much faster!