For the Love of a Text Editor

October 20, 2018

Tags: Vim, Talks

I liken learning to use the Vim text editor to learning how to write computer programs: a heady rush of “hey, I can do this” and “this is amazing,” mixed with a vociferous appetite to delve ever more deeply into the subject matter.

Trust me: Vim is a transformative experience. Sure, at the surface level it’s a source code editor, but the ideas it expresses in terms of human-software interaction easily transcend the process of moving words around on a computer screen. Indeed, the very concept of foundational modality that forms the core of the Vim experience has informed not only the way I think about manipulating text, but my thoughts on the ways we can interact with all sorts of interfaces and systems.

But anyway, yeah, I love Vim and I think it’s a valuable tool to have in your toolbelt, especially if you’re a software developer. So when Keisha Perkins announced that she’d be hosting a new event called Open Mic Tech Night here in Baton Rouge, I decided the time was right for me to unleash my fervor upon the unsuspecting populace.

Fifteen minutes—the maximum time alloted to any one talk at Open Mic Tech Night—felt at first a bit short for my topic of choice, but I find constraints refreshing and honestly it kept me from feeling overwhelmed. I decided I would focus on a few key topics:

  • Introduce Vim
  • Explain a bit about how Vim works
  • Show how Vim can be used to improve your workflow
  • Highlight some good ways to get started with Vim

Thus was born Vim: Editing IMproved; or, Why You Should Use Vim but Also Maybe Not?. I’d like to think that the talk went over pretty well, but regardless, it whet my appetite for Vim advocacy. First, I’ll convert my co-workers, and then… well you know how it goes.

I included the slides from my talk at the end of this post, but suffice to say, the live demonstrations are sort of an integral part of the experience. Fortunately, Quinton Jason—another positive force in the movement to improve Baton Rouge’s tech culture (serious kudos to him and Keisha)—invited me to present again at his monthly BR Hack Night event, and how could I even say no?

If you can make it out to Hack Night this Wednesday (Oct 24th), come say hi and let’s learn some Vim together!

Nicholas Scheurich

Lead Developer

Scholar of arcane mysteries such as computer programming, game design, and the Vim text editor. Feed your Nick one cortado each morning to maintain its shiny coat and joie de vivre. he/him

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