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Purpose of blog

Vim and this blog


I'm a writer. I use vim for the bulk of my writing.

I've used vim and vi for more than fifteen years.

This blog documents vim from a writer's viewpoint.

Writers who grok vim can get more work done in less time than with a word processor.

Most of writing is editing. Vim cuts down on editing time.

My aim is to take anyone interested in vim to the point of self-sufficiency.

It's easy to go down the rabbit hole with a complex piece of software like vim.

That's not necessary!

Nearly all the benefit of vim comes from plucking the low-hanging fruit.

If you're a writer, don't learn emacs instead of vim.

Emacs has killer features that programmers need, but is clunky with text.

My teaching philosophy is, "Monkey see, monkey do."

Don't just read the blog. Follow along with vim! Things will start to click.

Every blog post is based around an exercise.

When I learned vim, I read technical documentation.

I learned a new key and thought, "Great. Now that I know that, what do I do?"

Nothing made sense out of context!

In addition to key definitions, writers need to see vim in action.

That's why this blog uses vim commands on real files, as a writer might.

If you follow the blog posts, you'll have success.

You'll understand things I don't explain well or don't explain at all.

I'm introducing everything at once, in a circular way.

The other approach would be linear, to exhaust topics one by one.

If you prefer the linear approach, it's out there! Lots of documentation exists already.

I will also work on a linear reference section, together with my blog posts.

I hope this blog is helpful to writers who want to harness the power of vim.

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Getting started with Vim

First vim file
Let's get something done in vim!

Open vim.
Do the following without changes.

Press i to go into insert mode. 
Type: "Hello, Dolly!" (with quotation marks)
Hit the Esc key to go into normal mode.
The cursor should be over the second quotation mark.
Type b to go back to the exclamation point.
Type cb to erase Dolly and go into insert mode.
Type World.
Hit the Esc key to go into normal mode.
Type : to go into command line mode.
Type w hello and hit the Enter key to save (write) the file as hello.
Type : to go into command line mode again. Type q and hit the Enter key to leave vim.
Congratulations!
You created a file hello in vim with one line of text, "Hello, World!"
So much for vim's famous learning curve!
Explanation
Vim is a modal text editor. We used three modes, normal, insert, and command line. 
Vim opened in normal mode. We couldn't insert text in normal mode. We could only give commands. Since we wanted to insert text, we gave the i…

Survival commands in Vim

Power
Vim is powerful.

When that power turns on you, it can be a disaster!

Let's learn how to recover from disaster.

Disaster!
Download War and Peace to your computer.

Open the file: vim 2600-0.txt (or vim <FILENAME.YOU.CHOSE>)

Imagine you're Tolstoy at your desk.

You just wrote War and Peace! It's a good day.

You type g followed by <Ctl>-g to see if your book meets the publisher's minimum 60,000 word requirement. Wow! 566,308 words! You're good.

But you can't remember if you wrote, "The End."

You type dG to go to the end of your document and check.

Whoops! You erased your whole book!

Maybe dG was the wrong command.

Salvation
Not to worry!

You type u (undo) and your whole document is restored.

Good thing you learned a few vim survival commands!

Erase War and Peace again. Feels powerful, doesn't it? dG was the command.

Type i to go into insert mode.

Type: Not only did I erase my masterpiece, but now I've typed over it!

Hit the Esc k…

Moving and deleting sentences in vim

What is a sentence?  Vim looks for punctuation to define a sentence.

Vim usually knows what a sentence is, but not always!

Here are two useful commands.

To move to the start of the next sentence, type ).

To move to the start of the current or previous sentence, type (.

Now let's see how these commands are used.

Open vim.

Hit i to go into insert mode.

Type or copy and paste this text:

Hello, Mr. Wilson. I was wondering if you could stop by this afternoon.

Hit <Esc> (or better yet, jj) to go back to normal mode.

Your cursor should be on the period of the second sentence.

Type ( to go back to the start of the current sentence.

Your cursor should be on the I at the start of the second sentence.

Type ( to go to the first letter of the previous sentence.

Oops! We ended up on the W of Wilson. Why?

Vim saw two sentences, "Hello, Mr." and "Wilson."

Two periods, two sentences.

Type ) to return to the start of the second sentence.

Type 2( to go to the start of the f…