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ArrrrCamp presentation: Vim - walking without crutches

Last week, I gave a presentation at ArrrrCamp called Vim – walking without crutches. You can now watch the video on their website. Here’s the synopsis for my talk:

In his provocatively titled blog post “Everyone Who Tried to Convince Me to use Vim was Wrong”, Yehuda Katz showed how he switched from TextMate to Vim without experiencing an initial dip in productivity. Begin by emulating the working environment that you are comfortable with, then adopt Vims idioms as and when you discover them. This is a welcome alternative to the hazing “do everything the Vim way from day 1” approach, which is widely advocated by veterans. Anything that offers a leg-up Vims infamous learning curve is to be commended. But be careful not to get too comfortable. Mastering Vim requires a change in mindset and if you don’t break some of your old habits you could miss out.

I will begin by showing how a TextMate user can make Vim feel almost like home. I will show what preferences you can set in your vimrc file, and which plugins you can install to emulate the TextMate experience. Like walking with crutches, some of these features are useful while you build your strength, but if you can learn to walk without them you will be able to move faster. I will show how.

Note that you have to have Silverlight installed to watch the video. A few people on Twitter have asked if it will be made available in another format. The organisers said that “it was this or no videos at all”, so you can like it or lump it.

You can view the slides from my talk online. I created the slides show using Scott Chacon’s showoff gem, which allows you to write your presentation in markdown format. It’s a Sinatra app, which means you can easily deploy the slideshow to Heroku.

I’d like to say a warm thank you to the crew for inviting me to speak at ArrrrCamp. This was my debut on the conference circuit and it was fine place to begin. The audience was friendly and engaging, asking some great questions. The break for mojitos in the afternoon was inspired, and I hope that other conferences will take note. Ghent is a beautiful place, reminding me of York and Cambridge in equal measure. I would happily return for ArrrrCamp another year.