Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

December 22, 2005

Editor Envy

Every now and then I suffer a little cultural cringe at being a Vim user. I cast about looking for another editor just in case I chance upon the latest, best productivity tool. And then I go back to using Vim.

Recently, prompted by a blog entry from Tim Bray I loaded Aquamacs onto my spiffy new Powerbook. It's good, and prompted me to load emacs onto my Windows and Ubuntu boxes.

But you know what? After a bit of playing around I came to the conclusion (without coming up with a checklist) that to all intents and purposes Vim and Emacs are now pretty much functionally similar. And I know Vim. So why swap? Back in the dim and distant past Emacs was far superior to vi, but Vim now has all of the bells and whistles (most borrowed from Emacs) that are necessary for a proper editor. Things like multiple buffers, syntax highlighting, decent search and replace, code folding and half decent scripting support (Vim scores higher here because you don't have to use Lisp). So I realised that the grass isn't greener over the other side and that I'm happy where I am thank you very much.

An experience that was made even happier this week by this Vim tip for better looks on Mac OSX. Even better, this page helps identify which fonts we can use. My .gvimrc file on my Powerbook now contains these two lines to make it look really rather pretty;

set guifont=Monaco:h10
set antialias

Posted by Andy Todd at December 22, 2005 07:56 AM


I did the same same Aquamacs experiment after Tim's post and came the same conslusion. The only editor I've come across so far that's really given Vim a run for its money is TextMate. The only thing that keeps me from switching to TM is the fact that it's not cross-platform...

Posted by: Mark Mayo on December 22, 2005 05:22 PM

I've been disappointed by all the OS X emacs ports. I don't like how Aquamacs tries to be non-emacsy. The "regular" carbon emacs builds are not very well configured out of the box, particular for Python editing. Carbon XEmacs is missing a lot of the features I take for granted in X11 XEmacs, like buffer tabs and error message hyperlinks. So I usually just end up running an xft enabled build of XEmacs over an X session (this also builds fine on OS X if you install the X11 devel package).

Posted by: Daverz on December 22, 2005 11:47 PM

I just started learning Vim and using it on OS X. So far, I have just used it through Terminal. Any tips on using Vim and OS X?

Posted by: Jason on December 24, 2005 05:28 AM