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Suggestions for 'beginner GVIM'

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  • Merlin Hansen
    Hi, [background] I help run some computer labs for computer science students at the local university. The lab machines are running Windows NT and are used by
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
      Hi,

      [background]
      I help run some computer labs for computer science students at the local
      university. The lab machines are running Windows NT and are used by students
      ranging from 'how do I turn this thing on and where is the "any" key' to 'my
      38th kernel patch was just accepted' in experience. Currently we are using
      notepad with the beginners and GVIM (version 5.6 but soon to be 6.x) for the
      more experience people.

      I would like to get even the beginners onto GVIM as they are doing HTML and
      JavaScript and would benefit from some of the features that GVIM has and
      notepad lacks. But to do this I need a setup that is as 'easy to use as
      notepad' in order to convince the class instructors to give it a try.

      [question]
      What configuration options, vim scripts, etc. do you suggest to make gvim as
      easy to use for the beginner user as possible? Specific features that I want
      the beginner user to have easily accessible are:
      - syntax highlighting (this is easy)
      - toggling visible line numbering on and off (via a menu, button
      or function key is required)
      - easy bracket, brace, tag matching (or included in syntax highlighting)
      - specifically for HTML and JavaScript.
      - Using something like % for this is fine but color highlighting would
      be prefered.
      - default file extention of .html if non is entered.
      - automatically enter insert mode on startup and, if possible, have no
      reason to exit it. In other words they should not need to know about
      the command mode, 'i', 'a', 'o', or 'esc'.

      Again I have to stress that these features, and any others you suggest, must
      be usable in a way that is as simple as possible. Key combinations (example
      :wq) must be avoided as much as possible. Menu items, buttons, maybe function
      keys are acceptable.

      Vim seems to meet every other challenge thrown at it and as the versions have
      progressed I have managed to convert more and more people over to it.
      Hopefully you all can come up with enough suggestions so I can convince the
      class instructors the Vim is no longer for the upper year programmer only.

      Thanks for your time,
      Merlin.


      --
      | Merlin Hansen | mailto: merlin.hansen@... (home)
      | | mailto: hansen@... (work)
      | (This space for rent for | http: www.cs.usask.ca (work)
      | reasonable rates) |
    • vipin aravind
      hi, a beginner always gets frustrated,but his frustration is paid a price at a later stage, either he leaves using gvim or he gets used to it
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
        hi,
        a beginner always gets frustrated,but his frustration is paid a price
        at a later stage, either he leaves using gvim or he gets used to
        it and understands its purpose.
        when you install vim.
        there is gvim (easy 6.0) which has one mode like nodepad.
        you can have a look at that.
        I haven't used it, you may have to experiment.
        vipin
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Merlin Hansen" <merlin.hansen@...>
        To: <vim@...>
        Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 10:15 AM
        Subject: Suggestions for 'beginner GVIM'


        > Hi,
        >
        > [background]
        > I help run some computer labs for computer science students at the local
        > university. The lab machines are running Windows NT and are used by
        students
        > ranging from 'how do I turn this thing on and where is the "any" key' to
        'my
        > 38th kernel patch was just accepted' in experience. Currently we are
        using
        > notepad with the beginners and GVIM (version 5.6 but soon to be 6.x) for
        the
        > more experience people.
        >
        > I would like to get even the beginners onto GVIM as they are doing HTML
        and
        > JavaScript and would benefit from some of the features that GVIM has and
        > notepad lacks. But to do this I need a setup that is as 'easy to use as
        > notepad' in order to convince the class instructors to give it a try.
        >
        > [question]
        > What configuration options, vim scripts, etc. do you suggest to make gvim
        as
        > easy to use for the beginner user as possible? Specific features that I
        want
        > the beginner user to have easily accessible are:
        > - syntax highlighting (this is easy)
        > - toggling visible line numbering on and off (via a menu, button
        > or function key is required)
        > - easy bracket, brace, tag matching (or included in syntax highlighting)
        > - specifically for HTML and JavaScript.
        > - Using something like % for this is fine but color highlighting would
        > be prefered.
        > - default file extention of .html if non is entered.
        > - automatically enter insert mode on startup and, if possible, have no
        > reason to exit it. In other words they should not need to know about
        > the command mode, 'i', 'a', 'o', or 'esc'.
        >
        > Again I have to stress that these features, and any others you suggest,
        must
        > be usable in a way that is as simple as possible. Key combinations
        (example
        > :wq) must be avoided as much as possible. Menu items, buttons, maybe
        function
        > keys are acceptable.
        >
        > Vim seems to meet every other challenge thrown at it and as the versions
        have
        > progressed I have managed to convert more and more people over to it.
        > Hopefully you all can come up with enough suggestions so I can convince
        the
        > class instructors the Vim is no longer for the upper year programmer only.
        >
        > Thanks for your time,
        > Merlin.
        >
        >
        > --
        > | Merlin Hansen | mailto: merlin.hansen@...
        (home)
        > | | mailto: hansen@... (work)
        > | (This space for rent for | http: www.cs.usask.ca (work)
        > | reasonable rates) |
      • dman
        ... cool, sounds like a good goal ... syn on ... See the files in $VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim for examples of how to turn commands into a menu item. ... I don t think
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
          On Thu, Nov 29, 2001 at 10:45:31PM -0600, Merlin Hansen wrote:
          | Hi,
          |
          | [background]
          | I help run some computer labs for computer science students at the local
          | university. The lab machines are running Windows NT and are used by students
          | ranging from 'how do I turn this thing on and where is the "any" key' to 'my
          | 38th kernel patch was just accepted' in experience. Currently we are using
          | notepad with the beginners and GVIM (version 5.6 but soon to be 6.x) for the
          | more experience people.
          |
          | I would like to get even the beginners onto GVIM as they are doing HTML and
          | JavaScript and would benefit from some of the features that GVIM has and
          | notepad lacks. But to do this I need a setup that is as 'easy to use as
          | notepad' in order to convince the class instructors to give it a try.

          cool, sounds like a good goal

          | [question]
          | What configuration options, vim scripts, etc. do you suggest to make gvim as
          | easy to use for the beginner user as possible? Specific features that I want
          | the beginner user to have easily accessible are:
          | - syntax highlighting (this is easy)

          syn on

          | - toggling visible line numbering on and off (via a menu, button
          | or function key is required)

          :help number

          See the files in $VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim for examples of how to turn
          commands into a menu item.

          | - easy bracket, brace, tag matching (or included in syntax highlighting)
          | - specifically for HTML and JavaScript.
          | - Using something like % for this is fine but color highlighting would
          | be prefered.

          I don't think the constant-color feature is available. I have the
          braces highlighted when I type the closing one with the "showmatch"
          variable. I tend to use "%" if the braces already exist. I don't
          think it works on HTML tags, but someone may have a script that does
          it.

          | - default file extention of .html if non is entered.

          :help autocommand-events

          au! BufNewFile * <something to patch the name>

          I'm certain there is a function to return the current name, do a regex
          match on it, and then set it to a new value if desired. I have never
          done this, nor to I have experience in vim scripting, but I've seen a
          bunch of interesting things posted on this list.

          | - automatically enter insert mode on startup and, if possible, have no
          | reason to exit it. In other words they should not need to know about
          | the command mode, 'i', 'a', 'o', or 'esc'.

          see "evim", but don't run it from a unix shell that lacks an X
          display. (it switches to console, but there is no command mode so you
          can't save or quit!)

          HTH,
          -D

          --

          the nice thing about windoze is - it does not just crash,
          it displays a dialog box and lets you press 'ok' first.
        • Benji Fisher
          ... I think you want to use evim. If you use the self-installing binary distribution of vim for Win32, you will get a little icon for evim as well as one for
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
            Merlin Hansen wrote:
            >
            > Hi,
            >
            > [background]
            > I help run some computer labs for computer science students at the local
            > university. The lab machines are running Windows NT and are used by students
            > ranging from 'how do I turn this thing on and where is the "any" key' to 'my
            > 38th kernel patch was just accepted' in experience. Currently we are using
            > notepad with the beginners and GVIM (version 5.6 but soon to be 6.x) for the
            > more experience people.
            >
            > I would like to get even the beginners onto GVIM as they are doing HTML and
            > JavaScript and would benefit from some of the features that GVIM has and
            > notepad lacks. But to do this I need a setup that is as 'easy to use as
            > notepad' in order to convince the class instructors to give it a try.

            I think you want to use evim. If you use the self-installing binary
            distribution of vim for Win32, you will get a little icon for evim as well as
            one for gvim, one for view, ... Most of what you want you can get with a
            suitable system vimrc file. If there are some things you want only for
            beginners, the vimrc file can check the v:progname variable.
            :help menus
            :help gui-toolbar

            > [question]
            > What configuration options, vim scripts, etc. do you suggest to make gvim as
            > easy to use for the beginner user as possible? Specific features that I want
            > the beginner user to have easily accessible are:
            > - syntax highlighting (this is easy)

            This is automatic with evim. (:help evim-keys)

            > - toggling visible line numbering on and off (via a menu, button
            > or function key is required)

            This is already in the Edit.File\ Settings menu.

            > - easy bracket, brace, tag matching (or included in syntax highlighting)
            > - specifically for HTML and JavaScript.
            > - Using something like % for this is fine but color highlighting would
            > be prefered.

            For % matching, $VIMRUNTIME/macros/matchit.vim supports html. I am not
            sure how well it supports javascript. See :help add-local-help for
            installation. You might want to add a menu item for evim. The default
            highlighting may also do what you like.

            > - default file extention of .html if non is entered.

            Do you just want to set the file type, or do you want to add ".html" to
            the file name? For the former, you can probably do it with an autocommand.
            For the latter, you could probably modify the File.Save\ As menu entry.

            > - automatically enter insert mode on startup and, if possible, have no
            > reason to exit it. In other words they should not need to know about
            > the command mode, 'i', 'a', 'o', or 'esc'.

            evim.

            > Again I have to stress that these features, and any others you suggest, must
            > be usable in a way that is as simple as possible. Key combinations (example
            > :wq) must be avoided as much as possible. Menu items, buttons, maybe function
            > keys are acceptable.
            >
            > Vim seems to meet every other challenge thrown at it and as the versions have
            > progressed I have managed to convert more and more people over to it.
            > Hopefully you all can come up with enough suggestions so I can convince the
            > class instructors the Vim is no longer for the upper year programmer only.

            Good luck!

            HTH --Benji Fisher
          • Merlin Hansen
            ... I agree with you wholeheartedly and this is part of the reason I want to start the users out in vim. Those that will continue on through computer science
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
              vipin aravind wrote:
              >
              > hi,
              > a beginner always gets frustrated,but his frustration is paid a price
              > at a later stage, either he leaves using gvim or he gets used to
              > it and understands its purpose.

              I agree with you wholeheartedly and this is part of the reason I want to start
              the users out in vim. Those that will continue on through computer science
              will discover its usefulness but I must also accomodate those that are simply
              taking the 1 first year computer class as a basic intoduction requirement for
              some other course. These are my real target as I want them to benefit from
              the power of vim with a very small learning curve.

              Thanks for the info.
              Merlin.
              --
              | Merlin Hansen | mailto: merlin.hansen@... (home)
              | | mailto: hansen@... (work)
              | (This space for rent for | http: www.cs.usask.ca (work)
              | reasonable rates) |
            • Merlin Hansen
              Thanks all for the replies and suggestions so far. I had basicaly ignored evim when I installed 6.0 and had not investigated it. I have gone back and looked at
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 29, 2001
                Thanks all for the replies and suggestions so far.

                I had basicaly ignored evim when I installed 6.0 and had not investigated it.
                I have gone back and looked at it now and like what I see.

                I know most of this had to have already been adressed and I thank you all for
                pointing it out to me.

                Merlin.


                --
                | Merlin Hansen | mailto: merlin.hansen@... (home)
                | | mailto: hansen@... (work)
                | (This space for rent for | http: www.cs.usask.ca (work)
                | reasonable rates) |
              • Kalle Bjorklid
                ... I think you can run commands in evim (at least it is possible in gVim Easy for win32) by using Ctrl-O. ... -- Kalle Karl-Mikael Bjorklid E-Mail:
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 30, 2001
                  On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, dman wrote:

                  > see "evim", but don't run it from a unix shell that lacks an X
                  > display. (it switches to console, but there is no command mode so you
                  > can't save or quit!)

                  I think you can run commands in evim (at least it is possible in "gVim
                  Easy" for win32) by using Ctrl-O.

                  :help i_Ctrl-O

                  --
                  "Kalle" Karl-Mikael Bjorklid
                  E-Mail: bjorklid@...
                  Work-related: kalle.bjorklid@...
                  WWW: www.cc.jyu.fi/~bjorklid/
                • dman
                  ... That s cool! I didn t know. I was thinking there should be some magic key sequence, at the very least so that a guru can switch to normal mode when
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 30, 2001
                    On Fri, Nov 30, 2001 at 11:38:10AM +0200, Kalle Bjorklid wrote:
                    | On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, dman wrote:
                    |
                    | > see "evim", but don't run it from a unix shell that lacks an X
                    | > display. (it switches to console, but there is no command mode so you
                    | > can't save or quit!)
                    |
                    | I think you can run commands in evim (at least it is possible in "gVim
                    | Easy" for win32) by using Ctrl-O.
                    |
                    | :help i_Ctrl-O

                    That's cool! I didn't know. I was thinking there should be some
                    magic key sequence, at the very least so that a guru can switch to
                    "normal" mode when assisting/teaching a novice.

                    -D

                    --

                    A)bort, R)etry, D)o it right this time
                  • Benji Fisher
                    ... The most important option set by evim is insertmode . If you cannot figure out how to get out of insertmode to change this, you can use the Edit.Global
                    Message 9 of 11 , Dec 1, 2001
                      dman wrote:
                      >
                      > On Fri, Nov 30, 2001 at 11:38:10AM +0200, Kalle Bjorklid wrote:
                      > | On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, dman wrote:
                      > |
                      > | > see "evim", but don't run it from a unix shell that lacks an X
                      > | > display. (it switches to console, but there is no command mode so you
                      > | > can't save or quit!)
                      > |
                      > | I think you can run commands in evim (at least it is possible in "gVim
                      > | Easy" for win32) by using Ctrl-O.
                      > |
                      > | :help i_Ctrl-O
                      >
                      > That's cool! I didn't know. I was thinking there should be some
                      > magic key sequence, at the very least so that a guru can switch to
                      > "normal" mode when assisting/teaching a novice.

                      The most important option set by evim is 'insertmode'. If you cannot
                      figure out how to get out of insertmode to change this, you can use the
                      Edit.Global\ Settings menu.

                      :help evim-keys
                      :help 'im'

                      HTH --Benji Fisher
                    • dman
                      ... That only works if you have the gui. On Unix/X systems (g)vim falls back to console-mode if it can t reach the X server. It would be nice if, for evim at
                      Message 10 of 11 , Dec 1, 2001
                        On Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 08:18:55AM -0500, Benji Fisher wrote:
                        | dman wrote:
                        | >
                        | > On Fri, Nov 30, 2001 at 11:38:10AM +0200, Kalle Bjorklid wrote:
                        | > | On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, dman wrote:
                        | > |
                        | > | > see "evim", but don't run it from a unix shell that lacks an X
                        | > | > display. (it switches to console, but there is no command mode so you
                        | > | > can't save or quit!)
                        | > |
                        | > | I think you can run commands in evim (at least it is possible in "gVim
                        | > | Easy" for win32) by using Ctrl-O.
                        | > |
                        | > | :help i_Ctrl-O
                        | >
                        | > That's cool! I didn't know. I was thinking there should be some
                        | > magic key sequence, at the very least so that a guru can switch to
                        | > "normal" mode when assisting/teaching a novice.
                        |
                        | The most important option set by evim is 'insertmode'. If you cannot
                        | figure out how to get out of insertmode to change this, you can use the
                        | Edit.Global\ Settings menu.

                        That only works if you have the gui. On Unix/X systems (g)vim falls
                        back to console-mode if it can't reach the X server. It would be nice
                        if, for evim at least, it terminated instead.

                        | :help evim-keys
                        | :help 'im'

                        These are helpful.

                        -D

                        --

                        A)bort, R)etry, D)o it right this time
                      • Matthias Kopfermann
                        just another idea that has worked for me quite nicely: something like that one here: set cmdheight=5 what you need hi magenta_on_black ctermfg=magenta
                        Message 11 of 11 , Dec 4, 2001
                          just another idea that has worked for me quite nicely:

                          something like that one here:

                          set cmdheight=5 """" what you need
                          hi magenta_on_black ctermfg=magenta ctermbg=black

                          (btw: my idea for not having to remember to name the highlighting after
                          it's syntactic function, stolen from elvis :-). I did such definitions
                          for almost all colors I need. I really think it's a good addition to the
                          syntactic words like "SpecialKey", etc. )

                          autocmd CursorHold * echohl magenta_on_black | echo "gi=jump to last input
                          \ and insert, \\va(b)@!=\"search for a without b
                          \ \""

                          You can fill it up with as many described functions as you like.
                          Of course You loose some place for text but for a beginner this is okay.

                          Matthias
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