Yan Pritzker software entrepreneur, photographer, musician

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hello, i'm yan

I am a photographer, entrepreneur, software engineer, guitarist, climber, and telemark skier

This blog is about startups, blogging, Ruby On Rails, virtualization and cloud computing, photography, customer service, marketing, ux and design, git, and lots more.

I am the CTO at Reverb.com - The Marketplace for Musicians. We're hiring web Ruby and iOS developers!

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Reach me at yan at pritzker.ws

Learn to speak vim – verbs, nouns, and modifiers!

Posted 16 December 2011 @ 12pm in vim

Using vim is like talking to your editor in ‘verb modifier object’ sentences, turned into acronyms

  • learn some verbs: v (visual), c (change), d (delete), y (yank/copy). these are the most important. there are others
  • learn some modifiers: i (inside), a (around), t (till..finds a character), f (find..like till except including the char), / (search..find a string/regex)
  • learn some text objects: w (word), s (sentence) p (paragraph) b (block/parentheses), t (tag, works for html/xml) there are others

To move efficiently in vim, don’t try to do anything by pressing keys many times, instead speak to the editor in sentences

  • delete the current word: diw (delete inside word)
  • change current sentence: cis (change inside sentence)
  • change a string inside quotes: ci” (change inside quote)
  • change until next occurrence of ‘foo’: c/foo (change search foo)
  • change everything from here to the letter X: ctX
  • visually select this paragraph: vap (visual around paragraph)

If you understand the verbs and objects you’re dealing with, you will soon realize that adding a new plugin and learning a new verb or noun exponentially increases your productivity, as you can now apply it in all the sentences you already know. It’s just like learning a language.

Let’s add some new text object plugins!

  • install surround.vim: vim-surround- you get a new noun, the ‘surround’ (s or S)
    • visually select a word and surround it with quotes: viwS”
    • change surround from single quote to double quote: cs’”
  • install vim-textobj-rubyblock – you get a new noun, the ‘ruby block’ (r)
    • delete current ruby block: dir (delete inside ruby block)
    • visually select a ruby function: var (visual around ruby block)
    • visually select the innards of a function: vir (visual inside ruby block)
  • install tComment – new verb: gc (go comment)
    • comment the current ruby method: gcar (go comment around ruby)

Now go out and learn a new verb or noun every day!

Love this article? Here are some more you might like :)

Want an exceptionally curated collection of vim plugins and shortcuts?

Check out an early beta preview of my fully modularized vim/dotfile setup called YADR (Yet Another Dotfile Repo) which includes text object plugins for ruby blocks(r), indents(i), dates(da/df), function arguments(a), and ruby symbols(:)