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Announcing Practical Vim (in beta)

Breaking news: Practical Vim is now shipping as a beta book!

Practical Vim

About the beta book

The Beta book ships today (April 18th, 2012) with 17 out of 20 chapters completed. I will continue to write throughout the beta period, delivering a new chapter every two weeks until the book is finished. After that, the manuscript will be sent off for proof reading, indexing and then (at last) printing! If you buy the combo pack today, you’ll get the paper edition delivered as soon as it’s ready.

Practical Vim is a recipe book (of sorts)

Practical Vim focusses on the core functionality of the editor. The built-in feature set is vast, and available everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sysadmin using stock Vim on ten different machines a day, or a developer using Vim locally, with plugins galore. Understanding the core functionality of Vim is essential.

Practical Vim is a recipe book, containing 120 tips grouped thematically. In his foreword, Tim Pope says:

Practical Vim tips teach lessons in thinking like a proficient Vim user. In a sense, they are more like parables than recipes.

If you’ve watched my screencasts, here on, then you’ll be familiar with my teaching style. It took me a while to find my voice in print, and to transpose the step by step proceedures from video to the static page. Thanks to the production team at the prags, we came up with a great solution. Each example is illustrated with a table, showing a simulation of how the text in the buffer looks after each command is executed. Here’s an example:

A simulation table from Practical Vim

After helping me with a technical review, Steven! Ragnarök had this to say:

The simulation tables are hands-down the best example of an interactive editing session on paper

I hope you’ll find them intuitive to read. Also, you can download the source files used in each demonstration, so you can easily try out the techniques from each tip for yourself.

Practical Vim is not about how to customize Vim

When I set out to write a book about Vim, I ran a survey to find out what kind of book people would be interested in reading. Some people wanted to know how to master Vim, while others were more interested in how to extend Vim by writing plugins. For those interested in learning to customize Vim, check out Steve Losh’s Learn Vimscript the Hard Way.