It is pretty hard to get away from Linux these days. Whether you use it by choice as your development OS, your company uses Linux for their servers, or you simply use accept the default OS for most cloud providers, Linux is everywhere. And you almost never get access to a nice GUI to do you day to day administration with Linux, which can made even mundane tasks like editing files complicated if you are not familiar with Linux’s command line tools. Which is why I invested some time in Udemy’s Vim Text Editor course.
I’m don’t hold strong opinions on the whole VIM vs. Emacs vs. whatever debate. I also have not yet invested the time necessary to replace my nice GUI-based IDE with a console based text editor, so my interest in these tools is simple pragmatism. VIM is convenient because it is installed by default almost everywhere, and I wanted to get a good understanding of the basics so I could get my typical administration tasks done as efficiently as possible.
The course follows vimtutor, which is a series of tutorials opened in VIM to document and demonstrate the basics of the editor. At first it sounded unimpressive to be watching someone following these tutorials, but the instructor does give some handy insights and little extras that you won’t find mentioned in vimtutor.
The lessons are short and to the point, which I appreciated because it meant that I could watch one or two videos a day and still get through the course in a reasonable amount of time. I also appreciated the short lessons because, well, VIM is a pretty dry subject, and my mind wandered after more than 10 or 15 minutes.
The course does only touch on the basics of VIM. You’ll learn things like opening, editing and saving files, moving around in documents, browsing the file system, copy and pasting, searching and replacing, multiple windows, and a few other day-to-day tasks. Which is to say that you’ll learn everything you need to know when you want to edit a config file or browse a log file in Linux, which is 90% of what I find I need to do with VIM.
Overall I was happy with the content, as it filled in quite a few gaps in my knowledge of VIM. I am by no means a VIM expert now, but I can now efficiently perform all the text editing that I need to do.
I would recommend this course to anyone who find themselves in a Linux (or Mac or even Windows these days) terminal needing to work with text files. I have personally saved myself a great deal of time simply by having a better understanding of the various ways you can navigate a text file in VIM, which is worth far more than the $20 the course set me back.