Monthly Archives: March 2010

Vim for Rails Developers

When PeepCode released the screencast on Emacs, I thought he’d release one on Vim, MY editor. I was delighted when Ben Orenstein released Vim for Rails Developers. By the way, I’d like to thank Ben for providing me with a review copy.

Production Quality

As a screencaster, I know what it takes to put together high quality screencast, and I was impressed with the quality here. The video is clean without any clutter nor annoying effects. The QuickTime video contains indexes so that you can skip to top level subject. Ben is very articulate and it was pleasure listening to his explanation. I also sense that he’s very passionate about Vim and it shows.

The only thing that annoyed me was that I was not able to see the keystrokes. I’m not sure which screencast software he’s using, but it is my understanding that both ScreenFlow and iShowU comes with the feature.

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

I consider myself as a proficient Vim user. After all, I actually edit without thinking about the keys. I tweeted recently that I will try to learn something new on Vim each day, but I find it hard to learn anything new at this point.

Although I have both rails and snipMate plugins installed, I really didn’t use them effectively. This video was a real wake-up call and I immediately started using the features Ben mentioned, and started to go through the documentations. Nice!

The Content

If you’re new to Vim, I don’t think this one is for you although you can come back later. This screencast assumes that you know Vim, but not for Rails just as the name suggests. If you need to learn Vim, I highly recommend Derek Wyatt’s videos on Vimeo or his site.

You should also be aware that this screencast is not about spoon feeding. It’s a great tutorial and points you to right direction. If you want to learn the details, then you’ll have to do that on your own. As an experience Vim user, I actually find this approach refreshing.

The first section, “The Fundamentals” is somewhat useless as Ben talks about improving typing skills, but the rest of the video is packed with valuable information. I love the fact that the content comes from Ben’s own real-world usage. In other words, it’s not “Hello World”.

Final Words

Vim for Rails Developers is priced at $9 and runs for 37 minutes. Considering the amount of productivity gain, I think this one is a no-brainer.

Although my post on Komodo Edit as the TextMate replacement has gotten great deal amount of traffic, I went back to Vim and never looked back. I no longer use even TextMate even on a Mac although I miss some features. With this screencast, I can finally put TextMate and Komodo Edit to rest.