Monday, November 24, 2014

Video Review: Mastering Vim by Damian Conway; O'Reilly Media

I've used vim for 20 years now ... so there's nothing to learn right?
Of course I'm wrong, vim is enormous and these videos do a great job of giving insight into vims' amazing capabilities.  I was under no illusion, I was sure I was only using a small amount of vim/vi capabilities and these videos confirmed that to me.  It was nevertheless a surprise just how much I did learn and I was frequently amazed at functionality I hadn't imagined.

I've always appreciated vims' multiple undo/redo, a vast improvement on vis' binary undo/redo capability, but I was amazed to discover that vim now allows multiple branches of undo/redo and the ability to say go back 10 minutes (through :later and :earlier commands) to whichever branch was being worked on at that moment.

Another wow moment was with vims' visual block editing, allowing to apply changes to a series of lines, moving a column of several lines at once for example.

These videos will take you through a whole range of vim capabilities.  If Damian Conway tells us we've only touched 1% of vims' capabilities, well that's a testament to how extensive vim is.  Yet, he covers many aspects in great detail.

These are not videos that you should just sit and watch, there's too much detail and you won't retain much that way.  Best to occasionally listen to several videos, but when you want to really advance you'll have to take one video at a time either making notes or experimenting.  You'll only advance by working on small chunks ...  downloading into the firmware in your fingers as the speaker tells us.

The videos cover the vim help system ('because you need help'), the various single letter commands,  moving around, search facilities and preview, search and replace, the various undo capabilities and undo history, command and text completion, visual modes and folding text.

Made up of 22 chapters, each chapter will extend your vim usage in many ways, just take your time to learn one chapter at a time.

I appreciate that the speaker provides a tar file of his own .vimrc and various plugins, this will save you a lot of typing.

I regret that there isn't some sort of transcript, or slides available but that's the nature of a video product.
I'd appreciate being able to read the content as well.

Nevertheless, this product is well worth the money and if you invest the time it will pay dividends in productivity.  I will watch the videos again and again ...


Arthur Vuillard said...

Great review ! I am going to watch the free videos.

Do you thing it is worth buying it ? The price is quite high...

Michael Bright said...

It depends on the usage you get from vim, if it's your daily work tool then yes I think these videos are well worth the investment.

I think watching the free videos should allow you to judge if the course will be worth it for you.

As a reviewer I didn't pay for the videos but I can say that will definitely hang on to the videos and continue to work on the content.

At the end of the day it's the time you are willing to invest which will pay off.

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