Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: OT: The so called "steep learning curve" of vim...

Expand Messages
  • Charlie Kester
    ... But the thing is, for the kind of users vim is aimed at, a text editor isn t the kind of tool that is used so infrequently that the user is always stuck at
    Message 1 of 25 , Oct 1, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      On 10/01/2012 12:48 PM, Tim Chase wrote:
      > On 10/01/12 14:17, Boyko Bantchev wrote:
      >> In my personal opinion, saying that "Vim's learning curve is steep"
      >> is nothing but a gross exaggeration. Why should it be? Are Vim's
      >> potential users computer illiterates, incapable of adapting to simple
      >> albeit new concepts?
      >
      > I'm pretty sure it stems on how productive one can be when
      > confronted with the editor without any previous experience.
      >
      > A newbie user can approach Nano and see the "these are the things
      > you can do" at the bottom, as well as how to obtain help; or Notepad
      > and see that it offers the standard File/Edit/Help menu options to
      > click on. In both, typing does exactly what is expected: it enters
      > text.
      >

      But the thing is, for the kind of users vim is aimed at, a text editor
      isn't the kind of tool that is used so infrequently that the user is
      always stuck at the newbie stage.

      I think there's a place for "user-friendly" or "intuitively obvious"
      applications, but it's for things that you don't use every day and
      therefore don't have a chance to develop any "muscle memory" or other
      expertise. A disk recovery app, for example, needs that kind of
      interface because it's aimed at a problem that hopefully doesn't come up
      very often. But when it does we're already frustrated and don't want to
      have to learn how to use an arcane piece of software.

      A software developer, on the other hand, spends a large portion of his
      time in his text editor. It's his "home base." What Alan Cooper once
      called a "sovereign app." With apps like that, what's wanted is an
      interface that doesn't insist on calling attention to itself, but
      instead recedes into the background so the user can focus all of his
      attention on the task. Otherwise it's like trying to play the piano
      while looking at your hands instead of the sheetmusic (or hearing the
      song in your head.)

      People who don't work with text all that much or very often can be quite
      content with Nano, Notepad, or even simpler interfaces. You don't need
      vim to send text messages or tweets!

      But other people find those "user-friendly" apps too confining, and
      almost as awkward to use as an on-screen keyboard to be pecked at with a
      stylus.

      --
      You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
      Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
      For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
    • Steve Litt
      ... This is true, but it doesn t mean that saying Vim s learning curve is steep is a gross exaggeration. The fact is, that for X amount of time, the Vim newbie
      Message 2 of 25 , Oct 1, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        On Mon, 01 Oct 2012 15:04:15 -0700, Charlie Kester said:
        > On 10/01/2012 12:48 PM, Tim Chase wrote:
        > > On 10/01/12 14:17, Boyko Bantchev wrote:
        > >> In my personal opinion, saying that "Vim's learning curve is steep"
        > >> is nothing but a gross exaggeration. Why should it be? Are Vim's
        > >> potential users computer illiterates, incapable of adapting to
        > >> simple albeit new concepts?
        > >
        > > I'm pretty sure it stems on how productive one can be when
        > > confronted with the editor without any previous experience.
        > >
        > > A newbie user can approach Nano and see the "these are the things
        > > you can do" at the bottom, as well as how to obtain help; or Notepad
        > > and see that it offers the standard File/Edit/Help menu options to
        > > click on. In both, typing does exactly what is expected: it enters
        > > text.
        > >
        >
        > But the thing is, for the kind of users vim is aimed at, a text
        > editor isn't the kind of tool that is used so infrequently that the
        > user is always stuck at the newbie stage.

        This is true, but it doesn't mean that saying Vim's learning curve is
        steep is a gross exaggeration. The fact is, that for X amount of time,
        the Vim newbie will be helpless with Vim. That's not true of Notepad or
        GEdit.

        >
        > I think there's a place for "user-friendly" or "intuitively obvious"
        > applications, but it's for things that you don't use every day and
        > therefore don't have a chance to develop any "muscle memory" or other
        > expertise. A disk recovery app, for example, needs that kind of
        > interface because it's aimed at a problem that hopefully doesn't come
        > up very often. But when it does we're already frustrated and don't
        > want to have to learn how to use an arcane piece of software.

        This is absolutely true, but doesn't refute Vim's steep learning curve.

        >
        > A software developer, on the other hand, spends a large portion of
        > his time in his text editor. It's his "home base." What Alan Cooper
        > once called a "sovereign app." With apps like that, what's wanted is
        > an interface that doesn't insist on calling attention to itself, but
        > instead recedes into the background so the user can focus all of his
        > attention on the task. Otherwise it's like trying to play the piano
        > while looking at your hands instead of the sheetmusic (or hearing the
        > song in your head.)

        :-) This is certainly true, but ...

        >
        > People who don't work with text all that much or very often can be
        > quite content with Nano, Notepad, or even simpler interfaces. You
        > don't need vim to send text messages or tweets!

        True...

        >
        > But other people find those "user-friendly" apps too confining, and
        > almost as awkward to use as an on-screen keyboard to be pecked at
        > with a stylus.

        True. That's exactly why we're all using Vim. Once you learn it, it's
        *much* easier (and faster) than "user-friendly" apps.

        Everything you write in this email is absolutely true, but none of it
        supports the poster who claimed that talk of Vim's steep learning curve
        is a gross exaggeration. There's going to be a certain amount of time
        during which a brand new Vim user is completely nonproductive in Vim,
        because all he's doing is learning, not using. The length of that
        nonproductive time depends on a lot of details, including how well and
        quickly one links specific keystrokes to specific tasks. Correct me if
        I'm wrong, but when I use Vim, my fingers do the thinking -- my head
        has no clue.

        The other thing I'd point out is that I have a feeling those who
        perceive Vim's learning curve the steepest might be those like me, who
        learned on vi, and only came to Vim after gaining proficiency on vi. In
        my opinion, vi has a steeper learning curve than Vim -- no blocking, no
        mouse, no menu, no cursor or pageup keys, no helpful tools to do
        something you have no idea how to do. My memories of learning vi might
        play a role in my opinion that Vim's learning curve is extremely steep.

        SteveT

        Steve Litt * http://www.troubleshooters.com/
        * http://twitter.com/stevelitt
        Troubleshooting Training * Human Performance

        --
        You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
        Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
        For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
      • Boyko Bantchev
        ... How is that a fact? If one only does in Vim the kind of editing that they do in Notepad (e.g. when using Vim in easy mode), would they even notice a
        Message 3 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          On 2 October 2012 03:25, Steve Litt <slitt@...> wrote:
          > The fact is, that for X amount of time,
          > the Vim newbie will be helpless with Vim. That's not true of Notepad or
          > GEdit.

          How is that a fact? If one only does in Vim the kind of "editing"
          that they do in Notepad (e.g. when using Vim in easy mode), would
          they even notice a difference?

          > There's going to be a certain amount of time
          > during which a brand new Vim user is completely nonproductive in Vim,
          > because all he's doing is learning, not using.

          To say that Vim, as a particular text editor, has a steep learning
          curve, would mean that there are other editors that let their users
          do similar things but require no or little learning. What are those
          editors?

          I strongly suspect that what is being perceived as "Vim's steepness"
          is in fact the difficulty of learning to edit text efficaciously and
          efficiently. That difficulty is not somehow specific to Vim alone,
          but is essential to the task it solves. I'll agree that Vim has a
          steep learning curve when I'm shown a text editor with similar
          capabilities and a 'gradual' learning curve. Until then, I consider
          it a myth, and one that is harmful to Vim's popularity.

          --
          You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
          Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
          For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
        • Marc Weber
          vim & emacs: Well - the whole discussion is pointless because we re not talking about what should be learned . Even notepad can do things Vim can t: Open
          Message 4 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            vim & emacs: Well - the whole discussion is pointless because we're not
            talking about "what should be learned".

            Even notepad can do things Vim can't: Open registry dump files!

            So use the right tool for a job. And if you want to learn about Vim -
            and you're helpless - then ask somebody knowing how to find the tool, or
            use the website. Its not a Vim problem. Yes - at the beginning I didn't
            knew how to quit Vim - yet I learned it. I even was too dump to
            understand the press :q because ":" is often used as separator - and I
            only experienced the Windows world before.

            You all say productivity of Vim is great - well - yes after writing tons
            of plugins (depending on what you do) - and even then you feel limited.
            Or why do people start writing eclim like bridges (talking about
            programming).

            Now is Eclipse more productive than Vim?
            Eclipse can highlight used and unused #ifdef regions, Vim cannot
            (AFAIK).
            Thus given infinite amount of time - which tool will be more productive
            if your task is to understand fast which lines are actually used?

            So don't forget that there are also other tools - and use what it fits
            your needs.

            And if you're worried that new users fail to get started with Vim - then
            teach them how to use google instead of telling them where to find help.

            Linux users will soon learn that there is "man", Windows users are used
            to F1 and a Help menu - and everything exists and works.

            However

            :helpgrep mailinglist does not show anything - WHY?
            :helpgrep irc shows nothing (but my own documentation of my plugins! [1])
            :helpgrep chat (same)
            :h community (does not exist)
            :helpgrep community (one hit: on the netbeans page)

            But its us helping new users and giving them those hints

            Should we fix that?

            So what about adding a help file about the community containing pointers
            to the internet relay chat, and the mailinglist?

            If "productivity" was the thing you want to measure - and if you're a
            writer - and think "Vim is the tool I always tried to learn" - then also
            have a look at plover: http://plover.stenoknight.com/
            It may allow you to write with 200WPMs and more after some training.
            Maybe that's providing a bigger "productivity boost" - than all Vim
            knowledge.

            So how do you feel about the community? Should we be mentioned in the
            help files?

            How much of you (readers of this mailinglist) would have benefited
            knowing about this mailinglist or the #vim irc chat room earlier?

            Marc Weber

            [1]
            vim-addon-haskell.txt|40 col 3| irc.freenode.net: MarcWeber
            vim-addon-manager-additional-documentation.txt|1147 col 21| Of course #git on irc.freenode.net is willing to help if you have trouble
            vim-addon-manager-getting-started.txt|38 col 6| Join irc.freenode.net, /join #vim. Ask there. VAM has many users
            tovl.txt|145 col 16| MarcWeber on irc.freenode.org or mail: marco-oweber@...
            lang_haskell.txt|133 col 16| MarcWeber on irc.freenode.org or mail: marco-oweber@...

            --
            You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
            Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
            For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
          • David H. Lynch Jr.
            Vi is present on nearly every *nix system in existance, from big servers to whatever is in your refridgerator. It is also on OSX. Vi is essentially a subset of
            Message 5 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Vi is present on nearly every *nix system in existance, from big
              servers to whatever is in your refridgerator. It is also on OSX.
              Vi is essentially a subset of vim. If you know vim you know vi. If you
              constantly need to work on random systems anywhere - you are stuck
              knowing the basics of Vi.
              I think Vi without Vim is pretty bad as an editor - but I can still use
              it. My fingers know what to do.
              There is nothing else this is true of.
              Vim is Vi on steroids.It is the default Vi in many places, but where it
              isn't or windows where there is no decent text editor, Vim can easily be
              installed when you are going to be working for more than a few
              minutes.

              I personally do not use but a fraction of the power of Vim, I have been
              using it for almost a decade and I am a novice. some things are hard to
              learn. but the power of even my limited knowledge is enormous. Sure
              there are other editors that are really good. I have used and loved many
              others, and some were friendlier. But none were everywhere.
              So fine it takes a long time to get to the point where you can change
              the 3rd to last word in each line to uppercase, prepend the first word
              in the line, and append the line number in octal. But I am sure someone
              here can tell you how to do that.

              If you are going to live in eclipse and no where else - then you
              probably should learn eclipses built in editor.
              There are other editors that will be the best choice for other specific
              scenarios.
              My work dictates that I must know Vi fairly well. And Vim is available
              - usually the default Vi in most of the places I work.
              I don't care about the learning curve. I care more about the fact that
              there are so many other tools like email, or ... that have their own
              limited editing capability built in that do not work like Vim. Anyone
              have a vim plugin for eclipse ? ThunderBird ?













              On Tue, 2012-10-02 at 16:04 +0200, Marc Weber wrote:
              > vim & emacs: Well - the whole discussion is pointless because we're not
              > talking about "what should be learned".
              >
              > Even notepad can do things Vim can't: Open registry dump files!
              >
              > So use the right tool for a job. And if you want to learn about Vim -
              > and you're helpless - then ask somebody knowing how to find the tool, or
              > use the website. Its not a Vim problem. Yes - at the beginning I didn't
              > knew how to quit Vim - yet I learned it. I even was too dump to
              > understand the press :q because ":" is often used as separator - and I
              > only experienced the Windows world before.
              >
              > You all say productivity of Vim is great - well - yes after writing tons
              > of plugins (depending on what you do) - and even then you feel limited.
              > Or why do people start writing eclim like bridges (talking about
              > programming).
              >
              > Now is Eclipse more productive than Vim?
              > Eclipse can highlight used and unused #ifdef regions, Vim cannot
              > (AFAIK).
              > Thus given infinite amount of time - which tool will be more productive
              > if your task is to understand fast which lines are actually used?
              >
              > So don't forget that there are also other tools - and use what it fits
              > your needs.
              >
              > And if you're worried that new users fail to get started with Vim - then
              > teach them how to use google instead of telling them where to find help.
              >
              > Linux users will soon learn that there is "man", Windows users are used
              > to F1 and a Help menu - and everything exists and works.
              >
              > However
              >
              > :helpgrep mailinglist does not show anything - WHY?
              > :helpgrep irc shows nothing (but my own documentation of my plugins! [1])
              > :helpgrep chat (same)
              > :h community (does not exist)
              > :helpgrep community (one hit: on the netbeans page)
              >
              > But its us helping new users and giving them those hints
              >
              > Should we fix that?
              >
              > So what about adding a help file about the community containing pointers
              > to the internet relay chat, and the mailinglist?
              >
              > If "productivity" was the thing you want to measure - and if you're a
              > writer - and think "Vim is the tool I always tried to learn" - then also
              > have a look at plover: http://plover.stenoknight.com/
              > It may allow you to write with 200WPMs and more after some training.
              > Maybe that's providing a bigger "productivity boost" - than all Vim
              > knowledge.
              >
              > So how do you feel about the community? Should we be mentioned in the
              > help files?
              >
              > How much of you (readers of this mailinglist) would have benefited
              > knowing about this mailinglist or the #vim irc chat room earlier?
              >
              > Marc Weber
              >
              > [1]
              > vim-addon-haskell.txt|40 col 3| irc.freenode.net: MarcWeber
              > vim-addon-manager-additional-documentation.txt|1147 col 21| Of course #git on irc.freenode.net is willing to help if you have trouble
              > vim-addon-manager-getting-started.txt|38 col 6| Join irc.freenode.net, /join #vim. Ask there. VAM has many users
              > tovl.txt|145 col 16| MarcWeber on irc.freenode.org or mail: marco-oweber@...
              > lang_haskell.txt|133 col 16| MarcWeber on irc.freenode.org or mail: marco-oweber@...
              >


              --
              You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
              Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
              For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
            • Charles Campbell
              ... Try Michael Gedde s ifdef.vim plugin -- http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=7 . Regards, C Campbell -- You received this message from
              Message 6 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Marc Weber wrote:
                > <snip>
                > Eclipse can highlight used and unused #ifdef regions, Vim cannot
                > (AFAIK).
                >
                <snip>

                Try Michael Gedde's "ifdef.vim" plugin --
                http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=7 .

                Regards,
                C Campbell

                --
                You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
              • Christian Brabandt
                Hi Marc! ... Why can t Vim? regards, Christian -- Wenn der kluge Mann mit dem Kopf durch die Wand will, so benutzt er dazu einen anderen. -- You received this
                Message 7 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Marc!

                  On Di, 02 Okt 2012, Marc Weber wrote:

                  > vim & emacs: Well - the whole discussion is pointless because we're not
                  > talking about "what should be learned".
                  >
                  > Even notepad can do things Vim can't: Open registry dump files!

                  Why can't Vim?

                  regards,
                  Christian
                  --
                  Wenn der kluge Mann mit dem Kopf durch die Wand will, so benutzt er dazu
                  einen anderen.

                  --
                  You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                  Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                  For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
                • Marc Weber
                  ... Hmm you re right. You could write a decode and use it (like showing hexdumps ..) - still I use bvi whenever I want to edit binary files. Try Win + R -
                  Message 8 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Excerpts from Christian Brabandt's message of Tue Oct 02 21:29:28 +0200 2012:
                    > > Even notepad can do things Vim can't: Open registry dump files!
                    > Why can't Vim?
                    Hmm you're right. You could write a decode and use it (like showing
                    hexdumps ..) - still I use bvi whenever I want to edit binary files.

                    Try Win + R -> "regedit" click on any folder -> File export -> save as
                    .reg file. Then you have a binary format which you can open in Vim but
                    which is unreadable for humans. Notepad decodes it.

                    I hope nobody got me wrong - I love Vim - and almost all the time half
                    of my processes are running Vim instances .. Still there is a point when
                    you hit a "frontier" - when tools are missing.

                    Eg I like the WYSIWYG behaviour of lyx which Vim will never provide
                    (unless a lot of development takes place)
                    which is why I want to say: think about learning curves as much as you
                    want - but don't miss domain specific solutions beside Vim if
                    appropriate.

                    Marc Weber

                    --
                    You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                    Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                    For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
                  • John Beckett
                    ... On Windows (or most systems for that matter), your vimrc should probably start with the following two lines: set nocompatible set encoding=utf-8 And, there
                    Message 9 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Marc Weber wrote:
                      > Try Win + R -> "regedit" click on any folder -> File export
                      > -> save as .reg file. Then you have a binary format which you
                      > can open in Vim but which is unreadable for humans. Notepad
                      > decodes it.

                      On Windows (or most systems for that matter), your vimrc should
                      probably start with the following two lines:

                      set nocompatible
                      set encoding=utf-8

                      And, there should be nothing which sets fenc or fencs
                      (the 'fileencoding' and 'fileencodings' options).

                      You might have something to set fencs, but the defaults have
                      been sufficient for my modest needs.

                      With the above, Vim can correctly read a .reg file. After the
                      file is open, the following command shows that the .reg file
                      has file encoding utf-16le:

                      :set fenc?

                      John

                      --
                      You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                      Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                      For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
                    • richard emberson
                      Both Vim and GVim have menubars with menus and submenus and, in addition, a popup menu that, at least for a very beginner, covers (maybe) 90% of what they may
                      Message 10 of 25 , Oct 2, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Both Vim and GVim have menubars with menus and submenus and, in
                        addition, a popup menu that, at least for a very beginner, covers
                        (maybe) 90% of what they may want to do (once they've got
                        basic modal editing down).
                        Though, it is also true that they will quickly out grow the
                        menus and rapidly want to do something that requires a little
                        deeper knowledge.

                        Richard

                        On 09/30/2012 06:37 AM, meino.cramer@... wrote:
                        > Hi,
                        >
                        > it is often said, taht certain software has a "steep learning curve".
                        > Vi/vim is such an example for the use of this phrase...
                        >
                        > I was thinking of this phrase and the graph I would draw if I had
                        > to show an example for such a "steep learning curve"...
                        >
                        > I would take the time as measure for the x-axis and the amount
                        > of stuff I have learned about -- for example -- vim as a measure
                        > for the y-axis..
                        > Then I would draw that "steep learning curve" as an graph
                        > which goes -- say -- from 0,0 to 5,30.
                        >
                        > And watching this graph I would read it as
                        > "Using vim give one a great amount of knowledge in a very short time."
                        >
                        > So....why so many take this as a point of critic???
                        >
                        > Using software which a needs a lot of time to learn
                        > much lesser ... that is the problem I think...!
                        >
                        > Or...what do I misinterpret here? ;)
                        >
                        > Best regards,
                        > mcc
                        >
                        >

                        --
                        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

                        --
                        You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                        Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                        For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
                      • Marc Weber
                        ... sorry - the binary output only happens if you export HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT this way. I m going to stop participating in this thread for now. Marc Weber -- You
                        Message 11 of 25 , Oct 3, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          > > can open in Vim but which is unreadable for humans. Notepad
                          > > decodes it.
                          sorry - the binary output only happens if you export HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
                          this way.

                          I'm going to stop participating in this thread for now.

                          Marc Weber

                          --
                          You received this message from the "vim_use" maillist.
                          Do not top-post! Type your reply below the text you are replying to.
                          For more information, visit http://www.vim.org/maillist.php
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.