Vim for People Who Think Vim is Weird and Hard

I recently read Vim for people who think things like Vim are weird and hard by Harry Roberts, a post that attempts to explain why Vim is worth learning:

I'd watch friends using Vim and be perplexed as to why you'd possibly ever need to type <Esc>ggdG to delete the entire contents of a file. How on earth can something so bizarre do that? How on earth do you remember that? In what world does that even make sense?!

In fact, the <Esc>ggdG example is a great demonstration of misconceptions and misinformation in Vim world. The command to delete the entire contents of a file is simply dG: delete and Go to the bottom of the file. What <Esc>ggdG actually does is:

  • <Esc> ensures you're in the correct mode.
  • gg moves your cursor to the top of the file.
  • d tells Vim to prepare to delete.
  • G tells Vim to go to the bottom of the file (whilst deleting, as per the previous command).

I love breaking commands down into mnemonics like this, because it does show that with a little bit of effort you can make editing composable rather than tedious.

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