An Editor that Skips to the End of a Def

Jason M Barnes json.barnes at
Wed Sep 26 05:25:46 CEST 2007

Warning: Religion follows:

On 9/25/07, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <ldo at geek-central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message <slrnffhe9g.2db.hat at>, A.T.Hofkamp wrote:
> > On 2007-09-25, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <ldo at geek-central.gen.new_zealand>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Why does it "choose" to modify your position when you exit insert mode?
> >
> > Try to insert 1 character in the middle of a line. You'll end up at the
> > same position. Now press 'j' (one line down), then '.' (do it again).
> > I believe that's why.
> >
> > Great when you have nicely formatted columns of code underneath each
> > other.
> It's strange, but in nearly 30 years of writing code in dozens of different
> languages, I've never felt the urge to line up my code in columns. Never.
> (Apart from assembly language, which I suspect you don't want to hear
> about.)
> > The cost of that power is a command/insert mode and a steep learning
> > curve.
> That's another issue, that of ROI. Having learnt the vi/vim keystrokes, what
> does that enable you to do? Use vi/vim, and that's it. Whereas I've found
> other situations where subsets of Emacs keystrokes are recognized, such as
> anything that uses GNU readline (including the Python console--see, this IS
> relevant to Python after all), and pico/nano. These are all extra goodies
> that are to be found on the way up the Emacs learning curve.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few vim commands that have
come in handy.  I can search through a webpage in Firefox by using the
same '/' search command that vim has.  The movement keys (h,j,k,l) are
the same as in any paging program I've ever used.  Not to mention that
I learned regexes by learning 's/regex/replacement' first :-)
> > For example, ever wondered why you on earth you need CTL-C and CTL-V to
> > copy/paste? Why not simply select with the mouse, then right-click to
> > paste?
> Or better still, why not allow both?
> >> And the downside is that the largest single proportion of those commands
> >> end up being variations on "enter insert mode". Because most of the
> >> keystrokes you enter during an editing session are in fact text to be
> >> input into the file, not commands to manipulate that text. So in a modal
> >> editor, having to
> >
> > Depends on what you are doing. When entering new code, yes. When
> > maintaining code, no (lots of small changes).
> Making lots of small changes is even worse--it means you're jumping into
> insert mode for shorter times, more frequently.

If you're making lots of small changes, then you shouldn't be jumping
into insert mode at all, IMO.
> And that's when you discover something else: that how you delete text in
> vi/vim differs, depending on whether it's something you just inserted while
> currently in insert mode, or whether it was there from before you last
> entered insert mode: in the former case, you use backspace to delete, in
> the latter case, you can't use backspace, you have to use "X". What does
> backspace do when not in insert mode? It just moves you through the text.
> What does the forward-delete key do? In both modes, it actually deletes
> text!

Actually, vim always deletes the same way regardless of when it was
inserted -- one of the many *improvements* over vi.

That's my religion anyway ;-), but I thought this was a python mailing list ;-)

> At least with Emacs, text is text--it doesn't matter when it was inserted,
> it still behaves the same way.
> --

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