Ex Mode

Apparently, NeoVim may be removing Ex mode. The NeoVim developers have found supporting Ex mode adds extra code that they'd like to remove.

Why would you care about Ex mode (:help Ex-mode)? It's basically a mode that allows you to enter several : commands, with some slight caveats. To leave Ex mode you have to type :visual. To enter it, you type Q, which some people hit accidentally and consider an annoyance.

Scripts sometimes use Ex mode, and plugin authors occasionally use it to try out snippets of Vim script. Many people use Vim for years without using it at all, and some even remap Q.

If you're set on using NeoVim and are worried about scripts that depend on Ex mode then it probably doesn't matter, because you can keep another Vim around just for executing those scripts. If you type ex on your system now you'll probably go into a Vim that launches Ex mode, so NeoVim distributions will just avoid aliasing ex.

Seeing the discussion on Hacker News made me wonder if anyone out there would really miss Ex mode, and I found a lot of articles by people writing about how to either exit it or remap Q. However, some people on Hacker News and reddit have asked whether or not it's fair to call NeoVim NeoVim if it drops something that's been in Vim forever.

Historically Ex mode comes from the fact that vi is a visual mode for ex. Ex itself is an extended version of ed. I think it's completely within NeoVim's remit to remove Ex mode in the interest of simpler code, and I don't see an issue with keeping both Vim and NeoVim around on my machine.

blog comments powered by Disqus