A Versatile Text Editor for Coders
Vim is a development tool that functions as a highly-configurable text editor program. Called a "programmer's editor," Vim is a clone of Bill Joy's vi text editor program for Unix—its very own name the contraction of “Vi IMproved.” This program can efficiently create and change any kind of text, whether it’s for editing emails or fiddling with configuration files, so it’s not just for programmers. However, there is no doubt that Vim is a favorite among programmers themselves, as the tool is greatly versatile—and while it has a steep learning curve, its features are nevertheless of high functionality.
Can Be Simple
Text editors are useful wherever they’re needed and for coding massive batches of programming files, a pretty powerful one is necessary. Vim starts off as your average text editor that can do even the most simple and common of text editor tasks. You can operate it via either command-line interface or its configurable graphical user interface. It has “undo” and “redo” commands in case you got something wrong. It’s even available for almost all platforms and operating systems. There are tons of text editors out there and Vim doesn’t fall behind when it comes to basic features.
Or Can Go Advanced
In terms of specialty, however, Vim can still boast of various features useful to programmers. For one, it has a persistent multi-level undo tree so you can go far in resetting any mistakes you’ve made. It has an extensive plugin system that gives you much control in customizing its functions. It also supports hundreds of programming languages and file formats—and even supports lots of human languages and graphical characters like Unicode. Vim even lets you visually and manually highlight text, and has auto-commands that can complete whatever you were going to input.
Still Just an Editor
You shouldn’t be fooled by Vim’s functionality, however. This program is a supplementary text tool, not a full-on word processor like Microsoft Word. While it can display text with various forms of highlighting and formatting, it is not meant to create text documents for your use. Vim is almost always used alongside another program or file, as it is first and foremost a text editor. Vim also isn’t as easy to use as other text editors. It has a tutorial, yes, but the whole program was designed to let you figure things out on your own and really explore the complexities of its features. It’s not meant to provide convenience for you—but once you really get a handle on it, it can provide high functionality and ease of commands on your text.
A Quality Choice
All in all, Vim is a popular editing program for a good reason. When compared to other text editors programmers use, like Sublime Text and Emacs, Vim is unnecessarily hard for beginners and can quickly get you lost and frustrated if you’re not patient enough. However, the program offers so much and with the right amount of give-and-take, you’ll quickly find that it may be the powerful text editor you need. It’s an added bonus that Vim is free, open-source, and is a charityware that encourages you to donate to the children in Uganda.