A few months back I commented that I had gone back to using Vim as my text editor when not using Visual Studio, and to be honest, I haven't regretted that at all.

I'm not a Vim power user by any measure, but I do get around and I'm constantly learning and looking for new bits and trying to get them into my muscle memory. It's a bit hard, but it's already been very productive and I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

Now, I had used Vim before this many years ago, but I now realize that I didn't really "get" Vim at that time. Sure, I could open, edit and save files, but I wasn't really tapping into the features that make Vim so powerful as an editor.

I also realized that one of the things that was seriously keeping me form becoming a better vimmer was that having to push two completely different kinds of text editing metaphors into my finger's muscle memory (and my own memory, for that matter) was simply too hard. While I tried to learn a few Vim tricks here and there, I would always fall back to the old classic text editing used throughout windows (and, most importantly, in my primary editor: VS).

I also realized that I really didn't get the power of Vim's three modes (normal/insert/visual). In particular, I never really learned how to use Visual mode effectively.

ViEmu In Visual Studio 2008 This time, however, I set out to remedy that. After learning a bit more about Vim and getting the hang of a few things, I finally caved in and got a copy of ViEmu, after having it recommended to me by both Aaron Jensen and John Lam.

This is a fantastic tool and has made, for me, all the difference in the world. ViEmu pretty much puts a substantial piece of Vim's power as a text editor right inside Visual Studio (and it works great with VS2008, by the way). This meant that I could now seriously learn more Vim tricks and be able to take advantage of them in both my main text editors.

Having that capability makes it a lot more worthwhile and encouraging to actually spend time improving my Vim skills. I'm still not even a mediocre vimmer, but I'm now using it much more effectively. Seriously, if you want to learn Vim, and are a .NET or Visual Studio developer, you ought to take a good look at ViEmu; I can't recommend it enough.

By the way, ViEmu got a slight price increase, but even at the new price it is well worth it and more than pays for itself. The licensing model works great as well: It is licensed per-user, which means I can install my copy, for example, in my three development virtual machines.

If I spent enough time inside MS Word, I'd buy the Word version as well (fortunately, I don't!). I'm sure I've left a few ":w" inside a document or two ;-).

Technorati tags: , ,

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.