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Old 02-23-2004, 08:09 PM   #1
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Is it really worth learning vi at this point?

Hi, this is almost a philisophical question, but here goes:
I'm taking a C programming class (in the UNIX environment), and my prof recommended that we use vi as our editor. When i started using linux, i used vi, but switched to pico. When I started the class, i tried a few different editors, and decided I would use jedit.
Do you guys think it is worth it for me to learn vi at this point? It IS the year 2004, and I know that vi is really powerful, but do you think it is worth it for me to learn it, as opposed to, say, jedit?

Old 02-23-2004, 08:15 PM   #2
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Not knowing much about jedit, the only thing I can really tell you is that it almost never hurts to know about different editors. vi and Emacs are the two most common in the *NIX world, so knowing the ins-and-outs of at least one of these will make sure that no matter where you go you'll be well versed in something that's available on whatever host machine you're working with.
Old 02-23-2004, 08:16 PM   #3
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Maybe down the road sometime your prof will spring a situation on you where the other editors are not available.
Besides it should take about 2 minutes to get comfy using vi.
Old 02-23-2004, 08:29 PM   #4
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I also know little about jedit...actually I've never heard of it...

Adding to what has been said, can jedit be used in a command line interface?
It's extremely handy to be able to use a powerful editor which doesn't depend on GUI, since you may find yourself in a situation where that GUI is broken or otherwise not available.

BTW, I don't believe that editing text is something that is greatly affected by the is as useful today as it was in the "ancient" times.

Last edited by mikshaw; 02-23-2004 at 08:32 PM.
Old 02-23-2004, 08:35 PM   #5
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Hopefully you have vim, and you can run "vimtutor". It is pretty nice and will quickly teach you some powerful things.

You will probably appreciate syntax highlighting and/or paren matching and stuff like that. If you put more time into it, you will learn that you can do just about anything with vi. At a bare minimum, I suggest learning how to do regex search & replace some day.

My first impression of vi from years ago was that it was a pile of crap and it was totally annoying. Today I find what's truly annoying is to be left without all the powerful tools and techniques that vi gives you. Like many things in unix, it is harder to learn but actually easier to use because of all the power and flexibility it gives you.
Old 02-23-2004, 08:55 PM   #6
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I thought the same thing some time ago, and started using xemacs, a more familiar gui editor. I then started doing some sysadmin work and was forced to use vi and found it very useful. I now work as developer on a hardware product and the only editor we have on our "Developer Build", is vi, so vi is every where and it good to know if only kjhl i. I guess I am just echoing the above comments but, it is always good to learn, if only for the sake of learning.

Old 02-23-2004, 09:52 PM   #7
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I was in the same situation years ago. Some professor with bad 70s hair telling us that this crazy vi editor from the dinosaur ages was useful.

Now gvim (graphical vi improved) is all I'll edit with.

My tip for a vi newbie: use ctrl+[ (that is, with the ctrl key held down, pressing the "[" key) instead of the "Esc" key for switching into command mode. That way, your hands never have to leave the home position.

Old 02-23-2004, 10:22 PM   #8
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the first time I used vi, I thought it was broken. When it occured to me that it wasnt broken I thought it was a piece of crap and stoped using it.

then in the first LUG meeting I ever went to I mentioned my problems with vi to one of the members and he kindly pointed me in the direction of "vimtutor"

now its the only text editor I use (except for OOo, but thats for reports and stuf).
Old 02-24-2004, 12:51 AM   #9
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Re: Is it really worth learning vi at this point?

Originally posted by Tyir
It IS the year 2004, and I know that vi is really powerful, but do you think it is worth it for me to learn it, as opposed to, say, jedit?
what difference does it make if it's 2004 or 1974? vi(m) is an amazingly powerful editor and you should definitely use it. once you get used to it and configure it the way you like, you'll find that programming is a lot nicer and faster.


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