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Practical Vim rated 9/10 by Linux Format Magazine

In the September issue of Linux Format magazine, Jonathan Roberts reviewed Practical Vim (the beta edition) and rated it 9/10.

The best book available to move you on from being a novice Vim user.

With the permission of Jonathan Roberts and Linux Format magazine, I’ve reproduced the review in full:

According to this book’s introduction, “in the hands of an expert, Vim shreds text at the speed of thought”. In our experience, this comment is spot on. Vim is a very powerful text editor, but thanks to its unorthodox modal approach, it can actually slow you down if you don’t understand the ‘Vim way’.

Practical Vim gets this, where many other books on the topic don’t. Instead of being a simple reference, listing different key combinations and their effects, Practical Vim focuses on real scenarios, presents different options and looks to explain why one approach might be better than another.

While the introduction says that it is a recipe book, not to be read from start to finish, we think there is great value to be had from starting with the first chapter, ‘The Vim Way’, before looking at any of the other material. This chapter looks extensively at the dot command, and works toward what the author calls the ‘dot formula’. It will inform everything else in the book, and change the way you use Vim.

The remainder of the book can be read at leisure, but it’s no less instructive, and will probably have just as large an impact on the way that you use Vim.

In particular, we learned huge amounts from the book’s account of Visual Block mode, and were amazed at the things you can do with it.

Practical Vim doesn’t waste time covering the basics, such as using the hjkl keys for movement, and the concept of modes. This is good, even for beginners, since it means the book doesn’t waste time repeating information that’s already covered in Vim’s excellent built-in tutorial; so if you are new to Vim, start with this before taking a look at this book.

Cover of Linux Format issue 161

I’m not a regular Linux Format reader, so I would have missed this if it hadn’t been brought to my attention. Thanks to Ray Hammond for letting me know about it.