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Re: Editor survival [Was: Recommended editor for novice programmers?]

On Wed, 6 Sep 2017 16:08:15 +1000
Erik Christiansen <dvalin@internode.on.net> wrote:

> On 06.09.17 05:31, Nick Boyce wrote:
> > [Joe is] one of the first things I install on any Linux
> > or *BSD system.
> In my decades of leading software teams, one thing I did not do is ask
> "What editor do you use?", even in employment interviews. In my
> experience, a programmer is most productive using the editor with which
> he's most proficient. 

You're absolutely right.  I have sat next to seasoned vi users watching in awe as their fingers flew entering weird totally non-intuitive commands (to me) and achieving great edits in next to no time.  Other colleagues lived inside emacs all day long, using it as a sort of OS with an editor attached.  I used other editors to achieve the same goals, quite possibly taking more real time than the vi guys.  Each to their own.

It's interesting how programmers who arrived at Unix via VMS, and programmers who came from the mainframe world, often have correspondingly different software tastes.

> > ... and vi's power makes light work of many tasks but it's
> > as user-friendly as a cornered rat
> On the three occasions I've had to extract a marsupial possum from our
> chimney (they're like a cat on steroids), I've armed myself with thick
> leather gloves and grim determination. 


> For vim, a cheat-sheet suffices,
> and :help xxxx" or google do explain.

On DEC Ultrix, Digital Unix (OSF/1 .. Tru64) and on HPUX there is no vim, and the DEC/HP salesmen have delivered no cheet sheets with the beasts, and in vi the F1 key does not summon any help, and from insert mode there is no help command, and in 1995 google has not yet been invented.  The unskilled novice smokes a cigarette (it's 1995) to calm down, and gravitates to a different editor ....

> > ... a whole bunch of weird character sequences get entered
> > instead of cursor control, which you then spend the next 10 minutes
> > removing again.  Ugh.
> That's an xterm error, as the arrows simply produce motion even in
> Insert-mode, if that's properly set up.

Agreed .. or whatever terminal (emulation) you're actually using - in my case very often a real VT220/320/420, attached to a VMS, then TELNETed to a Un*x, where the available /etc/termcap|terminfo may or may not have been well crafted back at the factory.  Sometimes an ICL mainframe VDU connected via an obscure 3rd-party emulation converter box to a DEC machine.  Latterly it would be some 3rd-party terminal emulator on Windows 3.1/95. I still say ugh, though it may well not be vi's fault.  The fact is that miraculously 'joe' seemed to be much more resilient and usable in these circumstances.  As did emacs .. if you could afford to wait.  I like an editor to appear within 1 second of me calling it (which rules out most GUI editors).

> ... unless you also add something like:
> " These days I expect to be out of insert mode, after a vertical move:
> inoremap <Up> ^[<Up>
> inoremap <Down> ^[<Down>

That's great to have - thanks for that (seriously), along with the other .vimrc tweaks you gave.  I realise much can be improved by tweaking .vimrc, as it can be with .muttrc, .bashrc and the like.  This is why power users often carry their own personal versions of these rc files with them wherever they roam ... and old greybeards sometimes dispense rc nuggets to neophytes at moments of crisis.

Never FDISK after midnight.

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