Vi or Emacs? Which one do you use?

I’m not planning to start a flame war here. Just curious of your opinion. Personally I’m a vi (or rather vim) person – simply because it’s the editor I know better. It’s smaller, simpler, and easier to configure (ie. you don’t need to know the syntax and rules of elisp to modify your .vimrc). Granted, Emacs is more powerful, but I tend to use vim as a general purpose text editor for editing configuration files, writing shell scripts and etc.

When I want to code something serious in Java I usually roll out the heavy artillery – eclipse. When I write LaTex I use either TexNicCenter or Kile. How about you? Do you like vi, emacs or something else?

Anyone who says notepad will be LART’ed!

[tags]editor, vi, emacs, vim, notepad[/tags]

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22 Responses to Vi or Emacs? Which one do you use?

  1. Jan BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    It depends. On Linux, for small editing tasks I use vi, for larger ones, I use emacs.
    On Windows, I use UltraEdit for editing, and Eclipse for programming.

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  2. kr0me UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Notepad :)

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  3. Jon Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use vi (vim rather) all the way… I’ve never tried emacs or anything else though.

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  4. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    kr0me – LART!

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  5. Starhawk UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    It depends upon what I’m doing and what OS I am using. In windows one of the first things I do is replace Notepad with something else. I’ve used a number of notepad replacements including the aforementioned UltraEdit ( a good program I might add) and they each have their advantages. I do however like Vim and never really got outta that infamous learning spiral with emacs despite trying to master it several times in my life. For programming I prefer a IDE all the way, and recently downloaded Eclipse thinking I’d mess around with it play with some Java and perhaps learn Python :) When I’ll find time for it I don’t know. Lmao!!

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  6. I used to be a vim user and I was using it similar to what you are
    doing (shell scripts, config files etc.). Then I realized that most
    things I do with a computer requires reading, writing or editing
    text, and it made sense to do all text manipultion in a single
    environment and master that.

    I use Eclipse for Java Development, but everything else that requires
    me to write more than a few lines of text is now done in Emacs: If I
    write an Email, a blog entry, some dokumentation,a scientific paper, a
    letter, a program, do outlines etc, I first write it down in Emacs and
    then copy it to my word processor, my web browser etc. This comment
    was written in Emacs.

    Every now and then, I ask myself if there was any kind of
    functionality that could have supported my needs in text editing. Then
    I make a search at Google and add that functionality. Because Emacs
    is about 25 years in existence, there is a piece of lisp code for
    almost everything. And since I’m a developer, I can and do write my
    own functions. My Emacs configuration is currently 128.4 MB large and
    is stored and versioned inside a subverion repository.

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  7. Praki Prakash UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I used to be a vi user. Managed to wean myself away from it after 16 years of using vi on *nix, DOS and Windows. Now I use emacs exclusively for everything.

    Eclipse or any other IDE is not something I willingly use. I think they are bulky and sluggish for my taste.

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  8. naum UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    My editor usage history, note that transition often included large chunks of interspersed time between previous and next… …and I will omit college days, as I cannot recall if the “editor” on the old DEC VAX systems I worked on had a name or any features other than basic rudimentary ones…

    1. CANDE terminal on old Burroughs hardware. Had to actually port program files over to another Burroughs system that had no text editor, just punched cards and a screen utility that “simulated” a punched card…

    2. IBM ISPF editor – for nearly 15 years, even early PC days there was a freeware/shareware version that ran on PC, line editor, could cut and paste, and was inventively expandable via ISPF edit macros

    3. EMACS – when I used EMACS, I ate, drank and loved EMACS. Now, if I sat down with it, I would have to look at a cheat sheet to remember how to even save a file… …last time I used it was a few years back to edit a binary file for which I did not have source for, to change a literal in a proprietary FTP application so that distributed vendor software that was “keying” off that FTP response message would not barf…

    4. UltraEdit (PC) – slick editor, syntax highlighting, pretty printing, even supported regular expressions for searching, save to FTP… …was first editor I ever plunked down money for…

    5. Vi/Vim – as a service partner for a telecommunications software vendor, I ended up working on a lot of Unix boxes where there was no EMACS installed and had to learn Vi, as it was the only text editor. Amazing how proficient one can be with just a small repertoire of commands… …still, no GUI application can come close to matching the pinpoint cursor movement precision. It’s quick and for writing scripts, it is an excellent tool. And infinitely adaptable (Vim) with macros, syntax highlighting, extensions, etc.…

    6. ConTEXT – the freer, lighter weight Ultra Edit substitute on Windows. Does syntax highlighting and pretty printing…

    7. TextMate (Mac OS X) – been migrating gradually to this editor, which the more I use, I am loving. Still haven’t totally shed Vi (and probably never can until CLI is a vestige of a bygone era…). Only feature missing is pretty print – but the bundles, folding, automation and power to go low *nix level are astounding… …well worth the 40 Euros or whatever it was that I put down to purchase (you can try full version for 30 days)…

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  9. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Interesting… It seems that most people here use emacs. :)

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  10. Adam UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I use vi/vim pretty much exclusively on *nix, TextWrangler (by the BBEdit folks) on MacOS X, and I stay as far away from Windows as humanly possible.

    I probably don’t use Emacs because my work *nix work environment is exclusively Solaris, which doesn’t come with Emacs out of the box. I stick with vi because it’s guaranteed to always be on whatever box I’ve got to work on, even if it’s not something I’m a primary admin on.

    If I were a programmer, I would definitely use TextMate on OS X, as it out-paces every other editor on Earth.

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  11. Christian UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Pretty much use (g)vi/m everywhere…. osx, linux, windows. Most cuz it’s always there (except widows) and I am used to it.

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  12. mark UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    vi(m) on all my systems whether they be Solaris, HP-UX, Linux, or any version of Windows. I usually stay at the command line so I use vi from there. I also have the Windows version of VIM installed so if I happen to be in the GUI, I’ll use VIM.

    The reason? I know it, been using it for so long, great automation and in the event you have to boot into a single user system from a floppy, USB device or CD, it may be the only editor available-although that scenario is getting less and less likely since there are so many live DVD and CD distros that have a full blown GUI that can be used for recovery.

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  13. Marius ROMANIA Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    For most of the daily jobs: vi/vim on Solaris, Linux, HP-UX and Windows (first thing after installing a Win, is to install some usefull tools – including vim).
    Also NetBeans as IDE for Java.

    Tried EMACS when some of my friends pushes me, but I don´t have enough time for it.

    Few years back I also used MS Visual Studio as IDE for C#.

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  14. Gábor HUNGARY Mozilla Firefox Fedora Linux says:

    Emacs. Love its GNU style, love that I do not need to leave the editor whole day.

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  15. I use The One True Editor, Emacs, of course. The only reason to use vi is to edit my sources.list so I can apt-get install Emacs.

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  16. xwinus CZECH REPUBLIC Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I usually use Vim for small editing like config. files, etc, and for large ones like writing C/Java/Python applications Emacs. However, I prefer Emacs, because there’s everythink I need (e-mail and Jabber client, music player, etc). I love GNU :-)

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  17. Fitz Siapno UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Been using VI for the past 15 years. Tried Emacs, pico and other editors, but I always go back to Vi. There is a stiff learning curve, but once you get hang to it, it is a powerful editor. Also, vi is everywhere, so no problem working on any machine.

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  18. paolob ITALY Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I use setted Notepad2 by default editro on every pc I prepare.

    Metapad default for Terminal Server environment (with Notepad2 also avaible).

    GVim default (with my menus) for myself :)

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  19. Seth UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    Emacs for just about everything.

    I started off with pico, graduated to Vim (and wrote my doctoral thesis in it).

    Since then, my needs have pushed me (largely against my will, initially) to Emacs.

    I use mostly R and LaTeX, with a bit of Python thrown in. Emacs with AucTex and ESS (Emacs Speaks Statistics) is just unbeatable for the work that I do.

    I still sometimes think of myself as a Vimmer, but I am now thoroughly in the Emacs camp. Emacs is now my default text editor, mailreader, and just about everything else. I occasionally saunter into some other program, but rarely, and with reluctance.

    Also, since I’m on OS X, the accessibility of Emacs-like keybindings in Cocoa applications is nice.

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  20. JuEeHa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I used to use nano but then I took time to learn vi(not vim) and now I can’t understand why I would ever use nano. I prefer ed(by the way it is not as bad as many people say. You should really try it) or even notepad for emacs. I once had to use emacs(sdf TWENEX) to edit configuration file but I couldn’t really do anything without messing anything up and I had to have emacs cheat sheet open at all the time. Backspace opening a help? You have to be kidding!

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  21. Arhuman Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I decided, 3 years ago, to use only emacs at least for one year to discover why people were so happy with it and to learn new things (at that time I was already a long time vim user) what I’ve learn during this year :
    _ emacs is a good editor
    _ emacs is heavier (start time/memory)
    _ I missed the vim modal thing (even if moving away from it was a reason to try emacs)
    _ emacs would not give me any productivity boost over vim
    _ emacs is a good editor

    I’d like to underline the first and last point : I realized that it is really only a matter of personnal preference. Being honnest neither editor can claim any superiority over the other…

    From emacs, I only really miss the fantastic Org mode which enabled me to dispatch lines (tasks) to other files simply with one keystroke.

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