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Re: bi

On Fri, 11 Apr 1997, mike horansky wrote:

> vi is a modal editor, so has a much steeper learning curve than
> something like ae.

modal vs modeless isn't the only criterion for difficulty - there are
many other factors involved.

the more complex things about vi can be difficult to learn, but you
dont have to learn them all at once. you can run vi knowing only that
i=insert, esc=finish insert, d=delete, and the cursor movement keys
(arrows or hjkl).

vi appears to be difficult when you first start using it, but it is
actually extremely simple. there is an amazing consistency in the vi
user interface - unlike many so-called 'modeless' editors, you don't
have to learn different sequences of keystrokes (or worse, mouse clicks)
depending on what mode (aka "dialog box") you're in. There are only two
modes: 1) text entry / insert mode and 2) edit mode (":" command mode is
just an extension to the edit mode). pressing ESC will always get you
back to command mode.

it took me only a few weeks from when i started with knowledge as basic
as that to get to the point of feeling confident about some of the more
complicated operations like how the Yank buffer worked, and using 'm'
to mark the current cursor position, and regexp search & replace rather
than string literal S&R.

a key point to make here is that regexps aren't difficult to learn
because of vi, they are difficult to learn because they are complex -
but you MUST learn them if you want to have any proficiency with unix.
vi actually makes them easier to learn because you can play with them

like many things in unix, regexps aren't difficult when you know them,
when you've learned the one or two fundamental concepts behind them -
after that, once you understand them they make perfect sense and you
wonder how you ever did without them.

once you have learnt regexps, you can use them in many other unix
programs: ed, sed, awk, perl, less, and many others.

> I stay versed in vi commands because I have to be, not because I want
> to be. There may be a better bare-bones editor for debian than ae, but
> it should not be vi.

no, it should be vi because that is the standard unix text editor. you
want something else, then install something else....but every unix
system should have vi installed. unix without vi is like unix without

IMO, the base system should have vi AND some crappy editor like ae or
pico, with some note saying "if you can't use vi, then XXX is installed"


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