Are Your Fingers Long Enough to Use Vim?

by admin

Note: I wrote this post just for fun. Please don’t take it seriously. Thank you! :)

Which editor are you using, Vim or Emacs? And why?

Next time, when you are arguing with other people about which editor is better and trying to persuade others to use your favorite editor, just forget it. If you believe everything is in destiny, it is not an exception for the editor you choose. The choice is written on your fingers.

Several days ago, I learnt from Mike that the choice between using Vim or Emacs depends on your fingers. As he figured out, people have longer fingers prefer to use Vim, while people have shorter fingers prefer to use Emacs. It is amazing, but reasonable.

Using Vim, the most frequent key you hits might be the “Esc”. Vim has three modes: insert mode, command mode and visual mode. Command mode is the bridge of other two modes, and most of navigating and searching is done in command mode. So, when you are using Vim, you must: press “a” or “i” to start insert mode and input something, then press the “Esc” to enter the command mode and do navigation, then enter the insert mode again and then press the “Esc” to the command mode. Maybe some times you want to hit “v” to enter the visual mode to select something, and after that you must hit the “Esc” again back to the command mode. At most time, you are hitting the “Esc”. That’s why they call Vim “hit Esc to death”. Of course, you also need Ctrl and Shift in vim, but not so often. For example, when you select contents by line or by block, you will press “Shift+v” or “Ctrl+v”. When you want to jump to the end of a line, you will press “$”(Shift+4). But these cases are much rearer than hitting the “Esc”. So, when your fingers are long enough, you will find it very comfortable and easy to hit the “Esc”. Maybe that’s why you like to use Vim.

I have touched Emacs for little times. In Emacs, almost everything except for inputing text are done by “Ctrl+something”, “Shift+something”, “Alt+something”, or even “Ctrl+Alt/Shift+something”. That means at most time, one of your finger must hit “Ctrl”, “Shift” or “Alt”. That’s why they call Emacs “hit Ctrl to death”. Some Emacs fans even want to use pedals to help them hit hot keys. I have to twist my fingers to hit those keys. For some complicated combination of keys, I even don’t know how to hit them comfortably and elegantly. So I gave up Emacs soon to save my hands and fingers. Maybe people who have shorter fingers would fall in love with Emacs because they could hit these hot keys easily without twisting their fingers very much.

Although I prefer Vim, I don’t mean to comment Emacs and Emacs users. Emacs is also powerful, and even more powerful than Vim (at least in my mind). I admire Emacs users very much because they can learn so many hot keys by heart and use them gently and easily.

If you are still confusing about choosing Vim or Emacs, just check your finger. If your fingers are longer than most of your friends, then just choose Vim without hesitate and you will like the life of hitting the “Esc”. If your fingers are shorter than average and you find it’s uncomfortable to hit the “Esc” frequently, then you should definitely choose Emacs.

If you are still arguing with other people about Vim and Emacs, forget it, unless you want to cut some one’s finger to force them to use Emacs or lengthen some one’s finger to force them to use Vim.

If you are jeered by Emacs users for you are using such a disharmonious editor that has multiple confusing modes, you could respond them, “at least I have beautiful long fingers”. If you are sneered by Vim users for you are using such a complicated editor that requires a pedal to handle the hot keys, you could respond them, “at least my memory is better than you, since I could remember thousands of hot keys”.