BlogicBlog: View from the trenches

The blog about Java and XML with focus on troubleshooting issues and tools.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A fitting first post: I love Vim

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One's first post should be interesting. And what could make a techie's post more interesting then the Vi vs. Emacs battle. So in my very first post allow me to declare my allegiance to Vi. Or to be more specific Vim.

But it would not be interesting to just announce my preferences and be done with that. Let me instead explain a little what I like in Vim and what I have done to it in making it useful for me.

Following are the basic plugins I have added to my setup:

OTF: On-The-Fly coloring of patterns
This plugin is indispensable if you are trying to track several items happening in a file at once. For example, if you are trying to read a piece of java code and need to keep track of all log messages, just highlight the specific calls with one of OTF's colours and you are done. You can of course do it using search pattern, but then you java lost the search ability. And OTF allows you to do multiple colours, so you can keep track of multiple patterns at the same time.

F: An unfortunately named Find plugin
You may not use it too often, but if you have to look at something that has a line of useful data, couple of lines of junk, another line of useful data, this tool allows you to hide away the junk by folding it away. In some instances, it is better than doing :v/pattern/d because you may actually want to examine the particular context in details. With F, you just open the fold above/bellow.

JavaDecompiler: A Vim frontend for JAD
If you decompile class files for research purposes, you might be annoyed with having to run class file through decompiler, save the result into a second file, open that file in the favourite java editor and then - when you are finished - still having to delete the decompiled file. If Vim is your favourite editor, this instead becomes a true one-click exercise. Find the file, open it and voila. No manual conversion, no deletion. This plugin will do it all for you. Just make sure your .class files are associated with Vim.

And this is my basic setup. I have additional configuration settings and may blog about them another time if there is any interest.

And just as a disclamer, you can do most of those things with Emacs and I have done so in the past. But Vim is the one I kept coming back to and don't think I will change away from it any time soon.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out


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