Emacs vs. Eclipse vs. Vim

Jeremiah Dodds jeremiah.dodds at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 11:39:52 CET 2008

There is, as other people have pointed out, no "correct" answer to this
question, other that "use a few different editors, and settle on what you

I personally use emacs. In fact, I use emacs for a lot more than just
editing code.

The reason I found myself really liking emacs was because I'm the type of
person who likes to be able to really customize whatever I'm using to my
tastes - emacs is _meant_ to be customized, and although the learning curve
is steep (especially if you have no previous exposure to lisps), it is
possible to be tearing emacs apart to fit your tastes within a few weeks to
a month of using it.

If you're the same type of person, you'll probably enjoy emacs.

I do advocate learning a powerful text editor, because the reward for
spending a lot of time learning one is very great. The only editors I'm
aware of that stand out from the crowd as being more powerful than the mass
of other editors are emacs and vim - but then again, I don't have much
experience with newer editors (for instance, Eclipse is a lot more
extensible than I previously thought that it was).

A word of warning is in order though - if you _do_ decide to spend the time
learning a powerful text editor off the bat in your journey as a programmer,
prepare to be _extremely_ frustrated for a while. It may be more prudent to
stick with editors that have an interface that you're used to (but support
syntax highlighting, auto-indentation, etc) than to jump into the unknown. A
little bit of programming experience can make understanding editors like vim
and emacs a lot easier than otherwise.
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