Not Invented Here comic strip for 12/22/2010
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Desmond: Why don't you have more than one text editor?!
Umesh: Because one is all anybody needs!
Marketroid: It's a computer! Just... Compute it!

Desmond: Insert mode... Can't just type... Designed by retarded monkeys...

Desmond: Actually this is kind of efficient.
Umesh: Welcome to the adult table.

Back to the Future

I first encountered Vi early in my career as a programmer, and even then it was old. It looked simply insane to me. I have never been particularly tied to any one editor but the idea that you couldn't just, you know, start typing seemed the very definition of insanity.

Fast-forward to the present, and I started reading blog posts about VIM by the likes of Yehuda Katz and Rob Conery. And with just one insight - it's optimized for editing, not typing - the world's center of gravity shifted just enough for me to give it a try, especially since I am spending a lot of time writing Rails code right now. I needed an editor that wasn't Visual Studio.

Now, after a couple of months, I am spending all my time in VIM and my fingers are getting pretty well trained. Several days a week I end up SSH'ing into my Mac from my iPad, and that is its own revelation. Because VIM, which is great at piling up a bunch of big edits into a small number of keystrokes, is insanely efficient over high-latency remote connections. Not surprising, given the era of its birth. With a my bluetooth keyboard and my Dynamic DNS account, I can happily develop with my iPad, using a happy combination of old and new technologies.

The moral of the story is, you can teach an old dog old tricks.