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Re: editor wars! vim vs. emacs. WIMPY vs. fullscreen.

 The editor war is both silly and enlightening at the same time. It is 
silly because we hold our preferences so high. 

Trivia: Do you know where the terms "big endian" and "little endian" come 
from? They are commonly used to describe the layout of a machine's data 
word, but they were coined by Johnathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels. There 
were two political parties that bickered about which end of the soft 
boiled egg should be opened, the "big" end or the "little" end. 

Anyway, editors are like that, all this fighting about more or less the 
same thing. Both emacs and vi[m] are arcane and difficult for the novice. 

The ironic thing is that the two editors have been used by developers for 
decades and for good reason. The "wimp" interface is very good for the 
novice to accomplish new types of tasks because there is no memory or 
experience involved. 

The arcane command set of emacs and vi are very rewarding to those that 
use it day in and day out. I can edit any number of files, quickly, switch 
between them, substitute text, find, etc. all without my hands leaving the 
keyboard and without having to de-focus on what I'm doing and focus on the 
"user interface." 

The WIMP interface is absolutely perfect for those people who tend to see 
the computer as an email reader or DVD player and never need or want to 
learn how to be more productive. conversely, the command line "textual" 
interface is a far richer and more productive interface for tasks that are 
based on logical constructs of tasks. They say a picture is worth a 
thousand words, but that is within the context of describing that which is 
pictured. Pictures are almost useless for describing a process or series 
of tasks, that's why we have evolved complex human language and did not 
stay with hieroglyphics. 

I'm not saying one is better than the other, but it is clear that some 
tasks are ideally suited for one or the other, and performing those tasks 
in the wrong environment is harder than it need be. 

Back to editor bashing: I hate emacs as it seems even more arcane and 
cumbersome than even vi[m]. I actually don't like vi and would rather vim 
for work. I've used eclipse, kdevelop, MS Visual Studio, codeWrite, brief, 
m, and a host of others, I always come back to vim. 

> Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 18:45:32 -0500 
> From: "Brendan Kidwell" <[hidden email]> 
> Subject: editor wars! vim vs. emacs. WIMPY vs. fullscreen. ed is the 
> one true editor! (was Re: preferred way to setup a LAMP...) 
> To: BLU <[hidden email]> 
> Message-ID: 
> <[hidden email]> 
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 
> On 3/1/08, Derek Martin <[hidden email]> wrote: 
>> > Thanks for the recommendation! I'm unfortunately in the market for a 
>> new 
>> > love affair with an editor. 
>> You didn't really say why, and you didn't give any hints as to what 
>> about the 2 standards (vi (or vim) and emacs) make them inadequate for 
>> you.  You may want to elaborate on those topics, to maximize the 
>> usefulness of your recommendations. 
> Well, I really shouldn't have started an editor war or anything like it. 
> :^) 
> Honestly, I just can't adapt to vim or emacs. I grew up with MS-DOS and 
> Windows, and quit using Windows full time some time in the past few years. 
> I have no trouble using CLI programs (non-interactive; using switches and 
> pipes and all that) but I simply can't adapt to any interactive program 
> that 
> uses an interface unlike the standard so-called WIMPy interface: windows 
> and 
> pull-down menus; a smattering of keyboard shortcuts available as keyboard 
> chords DISPLAYED IN THE MENUS, etc. Every program I use every day is like 
> that: Eclipse, Firefox, Nautilus, Pidgin, Midnight Commander, etc. I 
> simply 
> can't get over the learning curve of vim's and emcas' UIs where you have 
> to 
> explicitly ASK for help, and absolutely must remember certain keyboard 
> commands to get anything done. 
> So I'm looking for a new favorite WIMPY editor, with desktop integration, 
> syntax highlighting in more than a few languages, call tips, etc. But most 
> importantly, it's gotta have pull-down menus. :^b 
> So far, other features I DON'T like that come to mind (I said this in the 
> other thread): 
> * jEdit's Open/Save dialog box has strange keyboard behavior. If the 
> filename textbox is focused and empty, [BkSp] changes the currently viewed 
> folder up one, to its parent. Likewise, typing a path with a [/] 
> immediately 
> erases that part of the path you already typed and changes the viewed 
> folder 
> to that path. It might sound nice to you, but it's disconcerting to me and 
> unexpected and not like any other desktop program I have ever known, and 
> there's no "use host environment's open/save/print dialogs" switch. And 
> the 
> whole app doesn't use GNOME's color scheme right; using Ubuntu's default 
> GNOME color scheme which works fine in other apps, jEdit's menu background 
> and highlighted menu item background are nearly the same color. jEdit 
> needs 
> a lot of UI work. 
>    I will say, though, that jEdit's search/replace, syntax highlighting 
> and 
> plugin system all rock. 
> * Eclipse takes too long to start, and it's so modular, it's often unclear 
> exactly what is causing or not causing a certain behavior and where you 
> should go to change it. 
> So, I know what I don't like and what I don't want. I'm really just a 
> spoiled little brat. I'll let you know when the gods provide me with the 
> nonexistent ideal editor that pleases me 100% of the time. :^) 
> What do you like about editors you don't use? What do you hate about your 
> favorite editor? 

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