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Vim Over VScode? OK, Boomer!

May 10, 2022

While the title might be a bit of a joke, since Vi (the original editor that spawned Vim) is at this point, over 30 years old, there is some truth in that statement above. I wonder how many young coders, fresh out of their bootcamps, knowing nothing but VScode (which is a wonderful editor), IntelliJ, and other GUI editors that I've probably never heard of or used, likewise also probably know nothing about Vim (or worse still, put off by its terminal-centric nature or "overwhelming" way of going about things?).

I grew up around computers my whole life thanks to my dad, and always had a sort of fascination with what made them "tick." I can remember getting excited about my first Visual BASIC program - a short program that printed curse words on the screen. It was juvenile and tasteless, but it was my first program - and it was enough to create an obsession for programming which continues to this very day, as I approach 30 years of age myself - like my old friend, Vim.

Over the years, the more I got into GNU/Linux and different programming languages more seriously as I fell deeper into the rabbit hole, the more I got used to and comfortable with Vim.

They Tell Me the Grass is Greener

I have been using almost nothing but Vim for what seems like eons now. I have my own configuration file, which has been the same for a long time - I might make little tweaks to it here and there every now and again, but for the most part, my vimrc hasn't changed in quite awhile, and if it does change, it's because I did it.

While VScode and other big-name editors are nice, they go through changes quite often as new functionalities are added. This is the reason these editors are *huge* (I'm looking specifically at VScode and Atom, which are Electron apps) - I'd rather not have to open a minified Chromium instance just to edit code, when Vim is already right here on my system and waiting for me.

In fact, my Vim instance is Arch installation script pulls it from my repositories and applies it for me on any new Arch installation, so I don't even have to think about it!

Keyboard Shortcuts Committed to Memory

While you might scoff when you're first thinking of typing :q! to exit a file, Vim is more powerful than any other editor that I'm aware of specifically because of one reason: Powerful keyboard shortcuts.

While it could be the fact that I have used so many of these shortcuts that they have become muscle memory over the years, it is also true that when working in Vim, I can be productive as I edit my code, not worrying about what new bells and whistles might have been added in the latest update of my huge text editor.

In VScode, I have to install an extension to get my Vim keybindings. In Vim, they're already here! /s

Something Else to Learn

There are new editors coming out all the time, and I don't want to have to play with all of them. Call me stubborn, but Vim has never failed me, and I see no reason to think that it should anytime soon. Plus, with my Vim configs, I am always setup and ready to go on any machine with Vim on it - which is most GNU/Linux distributions, which tend to come with Vim right out of the box.

Don't get me wrong, I do like VScode, and I have used it and enjoyed a ton of its very useful features. But at the end of the day, when it really comes time to get into writing some code, or even writing a simple markdown document (as I'm doing right now), I'm going to be reaching for Vim every single time.