Going Cold Turkey

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Sublime Text 2. A quick look at my Twitter stream would reveal a lot of tweets on the subject of all the cool stuff you can do in Sublime. You can even find an article or two on this blog dedicated to the subject. But I have always had a weak spot for Vim. Ever since I saw "War Games" for the first time, I had the thought in the back of my mind that "real work" on a computer was done on the command line, ideally with white or green mono space text on a black background. Of course, this is utter horseshit. But still, working in that type of environment pushes those extra geeky buttons for me. Vim is just that kind of environment.

I have frequently joked about quitting GUI editors in favor of "just using Vim" but never really meant it. There are so many things that you can do in Sublime Text or TextMate that you couldn't possibly do in Vim, right? Well after sitting in at Geek School last Friday night, and deep diving into Vim, I left convinced of a couple things.

First, Vim can do everything I find cool about Sublime Text 2 or TextMate. The only difference is, rather than using a combination of mousing and hotkeys.

Second, the only way I am going to ever get any better at Vim is by quitting GUI text editors cold turkey. So as of today, I am forgoing my beloved Sublime Text 2 and Byword, in favor of Vim. It is going to hurt like a son-of-bitch for the next several weeks, of that I am sure, but in the end, I ought to be able to slice and dice all manner of text files from within the venerable editor, with deft agility. Or at least, that's the plan…

I have found a few useful things along the way to help me in my switch. The first is Tim Pope's Vim Markdown runtime. I spend a lot of time writing in Markdown and losing syntax highlighting for it, or worse, having to put up with another language's syntax highlighting, would have been a deal breaker. Fortunately, that's not a concern. Once you add the vim-markdown folders to your .vim folder, the syntax highlighting clicks as soon as you begin working on a Markdown document.

The second is just having a nice theme, one that you want to look at for several hours at a time. I like to use the "Tomorrow-Night" version of Chris Kemson's Tomorrow Theme. It comes with themes for Vim, and iTerm2, as well as for Sublime Text2, TextMate, and a host of others. Having these things working for me make using Vim more enjoyable, now all I have to do is memorize some alphabet soup!



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