Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does anyone else hate vi editor?

  1. Jan 20, 2016 #1
    This one takes the cake.

    Throughout my time at University I have been forced to use many inadequate systems but vi editor tops the list. Why do we keep things like this around? To keep people out of programming? Keep the 'club' exclusive? AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

    My PI (and apparently many others on our campus) actually use this thing when writing papers :O
    They are nuts!!!

    There, that feels better; back to work.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2016 #2

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How are you forced to use it? Do you not have your own computer on which you can install whatever software you like?
     
  4. Jan 20, 2016 #3

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Its the one editor that is on every unix system. Its small, its fast and it works without X-Windows. The vim variant is available on all major platforms.

    It also has a storied history being one of the first of the screen editors that programmers encounter and its still around today and will be while Unix is still around in the world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi

    It can't be any harder than learning latex.
     
  5. Jan 20, 2016 #4
    It's what they use for this course. Aside from my own personal dislike my PI isn't complaining.

    Although it can produce beautiful equations, I have never been a big fan of Latex either.
    A lot of this (vi editor usage difficulties) could be solved by simply allowing for copy and 'plain text' paste between notepad,word, or whatever to the editor.

    I will say this, it is cool that it was the first text editor and interesting in that regard to play with, but we have come a long way since that time, why not just make it user friendly? Is it too difficult to do?
     
  6. Jan 20, 2016 #5

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    You can mark, copy and paste if you use the vim variant. I've done this on a mac to get syntax colored programming code into Open Office or LibreOffice.
     
  7. Jan 20, 2016 #6

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Linux has nano which is like edit in DOS.
     
  8. Jan 20, 2016 #7

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    emacs!!! Once you learn to use it, it is much faster than any other editor I've tried.
     
  9. Jan 20, 2016 #8

    fresh_42

    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    vi is funny but it ruins your ESC button :frown:
     
  10. Jan 21, 2016 #9

    Ben Niehoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Use a LaTeX IDE like Texworks or TexStudio. There's no reason to use a dinosaur like vi and then have to run latex 4 times or whatever. Just because your PI refuses to accept that better things have been invented since the 1970s, doesn't mean you have to tie yourself down.
     
  11. Jan 21, 2016 #10
    How is vi inadequate? Sounds to me like u simply haven't been taught how to use it properly. vi lets u zoom all over the place, have tons of files open, awesome syntax highlight. Do you expect to have a monitor and a GUI when you work on servers, you'll be very disappointed if so. By far the most useful part about vi though, is it's ability to script it from bash:
    Code (Text):
    vi filename.txt -c ':g/^/m0'-c ':wq'
    You sure can't do that with gedit.
     
  12. Jan 21, 2016 #11

    Ben Niehoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have a strong feeling that if he spends any significant amount of time editing LaTeX files, that configuring headless servers is not really something he needs to worry about...

    P.S. Texworks and TexStudio both have regex search/replace (although it's much easier to use in Texworks).
     
  13. Jan 22, 2016 #12
    EMACS!!! Best editor ever!
    I even use Xemacs on windows.

    Code (Text):
    sudo apt-get install emacs
    But vi isn't too bad, just have to use it a bit and you'll get used to it :)
     
  14. Jan 22, 2016 #13

    QuantumQuest

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Although I don't use it for Latex - I use TexStudio, Vi isn't that bad for programming. It allows to do real quick work, but it needs its time to learn it properly.
     
  15. Jan 22, 2016 #14
    I have no love for Vi either, but I also don't do a ton of editing on it. Usually it's for small files too.
     
  16. Jan 22, 2016 #15

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Used vi/vim/elvis for years. That does not make it all that easy to learn, especially after you are already used to other editors on Windows. Some vi-isms may be counter- intiutive for some users.

    There is a reason there are many editors available. That people think and work differently is an important one. Someone, who constrains others to use a particular tool because they personally use it, is not doing anyone else any favors. It is more an exercise in [ ... something else(fill in your choice)] than teaching.
     
  17. Jan 22, 2016 #16
    I used vi for years and thought it was OK. It has the advantage that you don't have to use the mouse, which slows things down.

    Where I worked there was a philosophical struggle between vi and emacs. I didn't give a sh** about that. vi was more reliable at the time, so that is what I used.

    There is a big advantage to a programmable editor like vi/ex.
     
  18. Jan 22, 2016 #17

    MarneMath

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    I use VI for any non-java related coding I do, especially when writing code that is not local to my system. Honestly though, once you spend a week or two learning how to find what you need, I code quicker in it than I do using sublime or some other editor.
     
  19. Jan 23, 2016 #18

    meBigGuy

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    nedit is avail on pretty much all linux distributions now. I use it in server mode (nc) so searches and selections are shared across multiple simultaneous edit sessions. (1 executable, few hundred open files with separate icons)
    (I also use xfce3 desktop so I can have positionally located active icons for the hundred or so files I usually have opened across 10 desktops)

    Nedit has column cut and paste, syntax highlighting, multiple tabs (which I don't use) , macros, etc etc.

    Emacs is a great editor for its hardcore users, but I hate its cryptic UI, and the fact that I can't even have simple line numbering. I've tried to transistion to it several times, but I would have to change how I do things. Nedit is the one for me.

    Vim is bearable if you have to use a form of vi. I use vi when I have to, which is seldom. Sometimes (rarely) it's the only thing available.
     
  20. Jan 23, 2016 #19

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    gvim (the graphics option of vim) is by far my favorite editor. It has very powerful capabilities.
     
  21. Jan 25, 2016 #20
    <begin advertisement>
    I don't have any particular issues with vi.
    If you take some time to learn it, especially how to use regEx with it, that painful editor can very quickly become a beast with limitless power.
    </begin advertisement>

    or use vim or gedit or nano or gvim or anything else you fancy if you just want to edit some small bit of text.
     
  22. Jan 25, 2016 #21

    meBigGuy

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The vi power users love the fact that they can do everything they want with keystrokes, and do it fast.
    I can use vi, but I often make a mess because I'm looking at the keyboard and happen to be in the wrong mode.

    Emacs is the same way, with more sophisticated language addons, like Verilog-mode.el, which is popular with RTL hardware designers.

    Being a terrible typist, I go for nedit on linux. (and Ultraedit on the PC)
     
  23. Jan 26, 2016 #22
  24. Feb 18, 2016 #23

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That's the whole point. Vi is for people who know how to type blindly. You are not assumed to do complicated 2 or 3 finger commands like control shift x all the time like in emacs or to get your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse. It works only well with an american keyboard. Therefore it works also perfectly with latex where many non-ascii characters can be inserted typing something like "a to get an รค.
     
  25. Feb 19, 2016 #24
    Vi isn't my favorite but back in the day I chose to learn/use it exclusive because it's the only visual editor that is 100% certain to be on ALL unix systems regardless of vintage, vendor or version. HPUX from the 1980s to Sun in the 90s to Mac OS X in the 21st century.

    I originally used emacs and liked it but I couldn't count on it being on all the systems I was required to use so I abandoned it. Then Mac become "Unix with an awesome UX/UI" and it became moot.
     
  26. Feb 19, 2016 #25

    FactChecker

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    That is a real advantage. It's the same reason I like Perl for scripting. It is everywhere. Vi for editing and Perl for scripting.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook