- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: O′Reilly; 2 edition (24 November 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781680501278
- ISBN-13: 978-1680501278
- ASIN: 1680501275
- Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Practical Vim, 2e Paperback – 24 Nov 2015
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About the Author
Drew Neil is a programmer, trainer, and entrepreneur. He runs Studio Nelstrom, which specializes in making educational screencasts. At peertopeer.io he publishes live coding videos; at vimcasts.org he publishes articles and video tutorials about Vim.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
However, it is unlikely that an advanced Vim user will find anything surprising in here. I keep this around for introducing others to vim or helping existing vim-ers gain skill; I rarely need it myself. It's got a target audience, and it's exquisitely tailored to them.
Once you go through vimtutor, jump right into this book!
The author clearly states that this book is intended for people who can touch type! If you don't know how to touch type, you better learn how to do that. That is not to say that you shouldn't get this book, touch typing is a skill that you can learn.
I didn't know about the dot command until I picked up this book. The author provides clear examples, and provides the best way to tackle an operation in Vim while also explaining why other methods would be inefficient i.e. would require more key presses, or can not be repeated using the dot command to the same effect.
I learnt a proper way to avoid reaching for the <Esc> key everytime, and how to quickly navigate through my buffer list.
Make sure to download the example files that the book references in the examples as that will make it easier to follow the commands.
That being said ... I would classify myself in the novice+ range with Vim. I got this book because I felt I had a firm enough grasp of concepts and could build from there.
The unfortunate thing, from someone in my "skill" bracket, is that it is probably more helpful to have some of the core concepts presented earlier. For example some topics in Part III (Getting Around Faster) would be better served being introduced sooner versus later. His suggestion for the novice is to do a first pass (reading only early parts of the chapters) and then revisiting the book later. While the author is no doubt well intentioned, I'm not sure everyone has the time to do multiple passes on the book. He puts the onus on the reader to do all the leg work to find what content works for them.
The problem with a recipe approach as well as the "learning curve" of Vim itself is that it is more helpful to learn the actions one will execute more frequently to reinforce the muscle memory. Learning more advanced items becomes easier once the initial struggles of moving around and handling the text editing basics are reasonably understood.
What I typically found when reading the book was I was being presented with content that I would simply forget solely because it isn't on my radar as far as thing I do repeatedly. Interesting tips? By all means. Useful at a novice level? Questionable.
There are also some cases where the instructions seem off, like the macros/incremental.txt example. I followed the steps but found I didn't get the extra space. I had to add it when recording the macro. This could be "user error", but I did redo this a few times to see where I went wrong, but always ended with the same results. There are other times when there is actually a context change, but it wasn't clear that happened. So the next sequence presented were no longer valid.
In general, I think the book was written well and provided some good examples. However if you're a novice or novice+ type individual, you may want to stay clear and get the book once you've crept into the intermediate range.
I can't help but think the book would be better served if it was split into a first part which covered basics (advanced people could skip and less advanced could work through that). Then have the more interesting/advanced tips later on. It would allow less skilled folks to get up to speed and not have to sort through what is useful and what is not.