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VIM is an improved version of the editor "vi", one of the standard text editors on UNIX systems. It is free to download.

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      31.05.2002 20:56



      In terms of text editors for Unix, there are two camps. There are the "vi" users, and the "emacs" users. Personally, I prefer vi, despite the fact that Emacs fits more closely the Windows way of working. It starts with a blank page, and cursor keys to move, and typing enters information into the document. By contrast, vi starts with a blank page, and in order to add information, you press "i". This puts you into "insert" mode. vim has other modes, such as "replace", too. vi, and vim, are very confusing to the beginner, but the learning curve is quite shallow to begin with. vim, this improved version of vi, has a lot of extra functionality built in that ordinary vi does not have: for example, you can "fold" away parts of a document, making it easy (for example) to "fold up" functions in a C program when you're not editing them. Vim also works on Windows, and it's always installed on my machine. First of all, it edits both DOS and Windows formatted documents correctly - remembering the difference between them and forwarding the line breaks correctly. In addition, vim has a long undo buffer - you can undo many actions at a time (I believe the number varies with how big each action is). It's always useful, and simply pressing escape to get out of insert mode, and then press u until you've backed out of the problem. It's also configurable, and runs macros, so you can actually automate functions that you use. A settings file can be edited so that you can keep your personal settings in check. It does autoindent for source files, highlights the keywords for most programming languages (not just well-known languages like C++, HTML and Perl, but relatively obscure ones such as Haskell, Eiffel and Dracula.) I can go on for ages about vim - it handles very large files gracefully, can recover a file after crashing, and
      even warns you when you open a file twice. And the price is good too...


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