Learn to use a serious editor

After some insistence from a friend of mine, I decided to try emacs out. This gone for maybe a month, and… well, how could I say? I loved it!

Understand, vim users, I have nothing against you. Actually, after I started to learn emacs I gave vim a try, too. It’s just not what I expect from an editor. I don’t like modes, I like to type and something happens. If and when I want some command, I use shortcut keys. Emacs fills these needs.

I have been using emacs since last time I made a post in this blog. The amount of things you can do with it is amazing. I’m even writing this blog post on it.

But why should you use a serious text editor?

Well, there are a number of things that emacs/vim/text mate/sublime text can do that simpler editors can’t. The main one are macros.

Everything you type on a serious text editor is a command. Even when you insert a character you’re actually executing some sort of command. Macros stores every command you type, so you can use them again instantly. This is the most useful thing you can imagine, and only this would be worth trying a serious editor.

Serious text editors also handle rectangles manipulation. That is, you can select rectangle areas, insert characters in them, or delete them. This is REALLY useful for commenting big blocks of codes in languages that don’t have multiline comments (as Ruby, for instance).

Text editors are not IDE’s. You won’t compile or debug code directly on them, for this there are other tools, like make or GDB. But this is not what text editors intend to be. They are meant to edit your code, and only this.

Emacs has some IDE features with CEDET, but they are poor documented, confusing and not well abstract enough. I tried to use it, but it was clumsy and confusing.

So, don’t trust me. Take some time and start learning vim, emacs or any other serious editor that suits you best.


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