Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Emacs: Editor with Machos

Or is that "nachos" ?

It doesn't matter because this isn't really about Emacs 8)

As GDC is coming up, I'll be spending almost two weeks with a company laptop.. hopefully a nice one, but definitely one with a cramped keyboard.

I rely a lot on CUA input to move around the cursor, cut, copy and paste. But this requires a proper keyboard with direct access to the Insert, Home, Page Up, Page Down, Delete and End keys.

..and those are the keys that are first to get messed in a laptop (in fact, most full size keyboards nowadays tend to screw up those keys !).

Some time ago I tried Vim and I have mixed feelings about it. The way it works is interesting and it can become a second nature to move around with those key bindings.. but the transition to editing is painful because of the "insert" and "non-insert" modalities.

Then of course, when writing code I rely heavily on Visual Assist X to make me jump around methods by name or alternating between definition and declaration, jump around files by partial names.. etc, etc.. I basically never really physically open a file and scroll to look for a method in it (BTW, forget the CTAGS stuff, VAssist is beyond that).

Enter ViEmu.. a plug-in that lets you use most common Vi/Vim key bindings, directly in the Visual Studio editor (I probably mentioned this before).
ViEmu is a great plug-in, but it costs $100-$1 and the 30 days trial were never enough to make me decide whether to buy it or not.

Frankly, Vi to me is more like a replacement for "broken" keyboards and I'm not sure that I want to spend money for those few times when I'm stuck with a laptop.
If I had a bit more time with ViEmu I'd give it another try.. but there is no crack out there.. and yeah, I'm not ashamed to say that.. I'd gladly "illegally" use ViEmu for some more time until I could really decide if I want to buy it or not.

ummmmmmmmmmm !

- My Visual Studio 2008 usabiliy fixes