Christopher J. Kucera ckucera at
Wed Jun 13 19:59:51 CEST 2001

Pilgrim wrote:
> Can someone tell me what "vi" is for a text editor to work with python?
> Where can I get this?

You've entered unholy ground here, as the age-old "emacs versus vi" debate
has been known to tear small countries apart, but for what it's worth:

I use vim (Vi IMproved) exclusively as my editor.  I've never needed
anything else, and nothing else I've tried out of curiosity piqued my
interest.  I also disagree with other comments that vi is not suitable
for large projects; like I said, I use it for everything.  It will do
syntax highlighting, automatic indentations, and a whole bunch of other
really cool stuff.

While vi originated on UNIX, there is a Windows version of vim as well,
and you can get it from  Or, I believe it also comes with
Cygwin (

Some selling points:
  * vi will typically be available on any flavor of UNIX you come across
  * vi is very lightweight (vim admittedly less so), so you're not
    buried in excessive overhead.
  * vi typically works very well through just about any terminal you
    happen to be running in
  * vi is FAST.  Once you understand the commands, you will be able
    to do simply phenomenal things VERY quickly.

Some caveats:
  * vi's command syntax will give you nightmares until you get used to
    it.  vim is actually rather forgiving in this respect, as it's much
    more lax about what you can and can't do while in edit mode, etc, but
    prepare for a steep learning curve.  Once you get past this, it's
    absolute nirvana, but it will take some (read: a great deal of) patience.
  * vi does not attempt to do the world for you.  If you want an integrated
    environment that will check your mail, compile your programs and cook
    you dinner, you're best off with another editor (this is where emacs
    typically steps in).

So, there you go.  More than you ever needed to know, I'm sure. :)


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