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> VI: what's the big deal?
CoreyC
post Jun 13 2004, 03:50 PM
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For the diehard VI users:

I'm wondering how such a complex editor got so popular. Why do you use VI? People like to say that other editors like nano and pico tend to mess things up, but I find it much easier to mess something up using VI than using pico.

To me, trying to learn how to use VI is like playing a game that my 5 year old son made up. ZZ to save and exit? come on wink.gif

This should probably be in one of those flamewars posts biggrin.gif
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jdralphs
post Jun 13 2004, 03:53 PM
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Amen! I've never been a VI fan, or even VIM for that matter ... never used Pico -- my favorite Z editor would have to be ee.
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Ling
post Jun 13 2004, 04:17 PM
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VI is one of those geek big penis deals. I learned to use vi because it was the only game in town when I had to administer a XENIX 286 machine (that served 9 users just fine, the 386 handled 15). I learned just enough to do minimum editing of system files. Now I use KEdit, or similar. If you get a quick reference and practice a bit, you can get by. There are psychos who actually author documents in vi. I imagine they are some of the same folks who will attempt their own vasectomy. OK now all of you geeks who are backtraceing my IP address so you can subscribe me to 1000's of publications, I am just kidding. I back in the glow of you vi annointed.
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dmilligan
post Jun 13 2004, 04:48 PM
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I use it every day at work. Its a tool. There are better ones out there for sure. Back a few years ago when I went to school, it was one of the main editors to quickly get something done. Cant say its a great editor but when you only have a telnet session into a box and need to edit a file without the nicety of a windowing system, its ideal. I tend to use VisualC++ as my editor of choice as I have learned how it works and can move around quite quickly with it. SlickEdit is ok but doesnt emulate 100% or at least it didnt and that was more annoying to me then using VI. With VI I know its behavior and dont expect it to act like the VC editor. SlickEdit should but isnt 100% so that 1% or 2% difference really annoys me. Rather use VI then constantly back trackiing to fix things because the editor isnt 100%.
Of course if you think VI fanatics are bad, there is also the emacs camp. Never really used it myself since VI suits me.
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dh
post Jun 13 2004, 04:56 PM
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I must say, I only had a very short experience with VI, trying to edit the file to get my WiFi card to work. What a pain! I always hated the editor in DOS, but it's much easier to use than VI. I found I could edit my file OK, but never did figure out how to save and exit. I kept thinking I had, but my file hadn't changed. Very frustrating.

What saved me was finding Zeditor and later TreeExplorerQT with it's built-in text editor. These are both great apps for anyone that doesn't know the basics of Linux. I'd recommend them (especially TreeExplorer) to any non-Linux person getting a Zaurus.

I would like to go back and learn to actually use VI since I understand it is very powerful and one of the reasons I got a Z was to learn a bit about Linux. Maybe a project for the long New England winter. biggrin.gif
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SmackMyBishop
post Jun 13 2004, 05:07 PM
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VI isn't about ease of use, it's about productivity.

If you're just using it as a notepad where you have to use 'i', 'ESC', and ':wq', then yeah, it's probably not a good choice for you. But there isn't much competition when it comes to moving text around without reaching for a mouse, setting up and using macros quickly, dealing with large amounts of text efficiently, doing complex search and replaces, etc., all over a low bandwidth SSH connection.

Before you bash it, give it a shot: http://www.vi-improved.org/tutorial.php

-Smack
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zxerx
post Jun 13 2004, 05:08 PM
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This thread sounds like a troll, but I'll bite. I've been using vi for about 15 years and now I can't live without it. Yes, it is initially hard to use (took me a couple of years to get proficient) and has all sorts of obscure editing modes and commands, but what you can do with it is simply amazing - from a programmer/sysadmin point of view.

Lets put it this way, if pico, joe and nano were family hatchback cars, then vim would be a formula one racing machine. Anyone can drive a hatchback, but few would be able to handle a F1 racecar.

My advise is use the right tool for the job. If all you've got to do is edit the occasional config file, then use something simple. If you're spending 8+ hours a day in front of an editor and need some real power, vim is worth the steep learning curve.
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Tehas
post Jun 13 2004, 05:10 PM
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QUOTE
but when you only have a telnet session into a box and need to edit a file without the nicety of a windowing system, its ideal.


I agree!

If you're stuck where you can't boot into QT, you could always use vi to edit files and such.
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dh
post Jun 13 2004, 05:19 PM
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QUOTE
Before you bash it, give it a shot: http://www.vi-improved.org/tutorial.php

Thanks, I'll check it out. As I say, it's not easy for a beginner, but obviously has it's strengths and I certainly want to learn more.
What's really good is that there are apps out there that make the Zaurus accessible for people like me who are not Linux professionals but still want to unleash some of the power of the device.
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cane_cubo
post Jun 13 2004, 05:32 PM
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In part this is one of those "how can possiblt like the colour blue?" arguments. I use vim to code in Lisp, and it has a few intricate options that make it really useful for the job. I always found the two modes thing to be a big pain (even after years of using it, though rarely as my primary editor), but in vim the two mdoes overlap to some extent -- at least you can move the cursor without leaving edit more.

Personally I don't think there is a more powerful editor on the Z. Until, say, slickedit gets ported over (I wish).
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nevarrie
post Jun 13 2004, 05:36 PM
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being an advanced user I have to say I love vi and vim for the things I do...though when I have to train new people on how to uses it for simple things I send then to using textpad and past in the content they need or scpinght the file up to the server. Once you learn how to uses things like search and replace, and how to copy and paste with out a mouse vi can be very powerful depending on what you are needing to do...

I have used several machines that are console based that vim was a life saver since I has a way to copy and paste sections of text, search for a string an have it replaced with another string, and have syntax high lighting to see that I had the syntax of a file correct...

I have to say the main reason I have got good with using vi is because I know it is installed on every linux and solaris box by default...though I know it is becoming less common as default on linux since I know gentoo now has nano instead of vi...Thought then again I started doing text editing on Word Perfect 4 for dos in the mid 80s when you had to know special commands to do fancy things...once you learn how to do it there is a whole new world of things to do...though I am not sure if the is much of a new to know it really well if you spend most of our time in a gui and do not have to worry much about sshing into a server and fixing files...I have people I work with that alwasy scp the files down and edit then scp the files back up form their windows machine when they are finished editing in thier faverate editor...

For me vi is great and if you have the time I would recommend learning it if you do editing of text files(expecially remotely) otherwise vi may not be something you want to spend your time leaning other then knowing "i" for insert "ESC" to get out of insert more "h" for left "j" for down "k" for up, "l" for right, and ":wq" to save and quit. Just rember if you know vi almot all the time you will have an editor on most Unix servers...
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qx773
post Jun 13 2004, 06:13 PM
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Before vi, there were line editors like ed and edit which resemble EDLIN in MSDOS. Compared to ed or edit, vi is more efficient for editing. Back in the old days, computers were expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars for machines that had only 64KB of RAM, so cheaper non-programmable dumb terminals were more common. Some terminals were essentially dot matrix printers with a keyboard attached to them, communicating at 110 baud, or about 11 characters per second, like a typewriter, so you could not do full screen editing on them, so you had to use ed or edit. That is probably one of the reasons why the C language is so concise, using single character tokens for a lot of its syntax. With ed or edit, you had to use substitution commands to replace some text with revised text rather than editing text in-place. Video display terminals, such as the VT100, that allowed full-screen editing with vi saved a lot of paper and allowed for editing text in-place. Graphical user interfaces and mouse input devices did not exist when vi was created, and not all terminals had arrow keys or page up and page down keys for easy navigation. One good thing about vi is that it is available on almost every Unix version and variant due to historical reasons.
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cowcow
post Jun 13 2004, 07:01 PM
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I've to agree the plain VI sux..however, VIM is different, it has far more features than pico/nano/joe. The default vi that came with Z is elvis, a lighter variant of plain vi. I've administered SUN/Linux boxes and programmed alot, VIM is really powerful if you know how to use it, in environment where a GUI editor is not available, that's the most powerful editor (emac is another, actually wink.gif
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sriley
post Jun 13 2004, 08:36 PM
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You'll find vi (or a variant of it) on just about every *nix box in the world. Basic competence can be a real help when you end up on one of them. Keeps you from having to just stare dumbly at a shell prompt.
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post Jun 13 2004, 11:34 PM
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It took me about a week to start using VIM and being to love it... Something I've noticed that may be of help is that a lot of times the default installation will not have a sane .vimrc file in your home directory. Usually there's one kept in /usr/share/vim/vimXX/vimrc_example.vim that you can just copy to ~/.vimrc, and I gaurentee it's a lot more usable.... things like being able to use arrow keys in insert mode, an indication of what mode you're in in the lower-left corner, syntax highlighting, indentation, etc.
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