Last Thursday, while waiting for a friend at the airport, I was having a look at an ad for a Blackberry. I watched the beautiful two-chars-per-key keyboard and the tiny screen (magnified by the magic of marketing to something much taller than myself).
Then it struck me: a keyboard map for vi/vim would be really cool to see! And it shouldn’t be too much work! I certainly would have loved to have it when I was learning vi/vim, not that long ago.
The result is here: vi/vim Graphical Cheat Sheet & Tutorial. I sure think it’s one of the best ways out there to get started with vi/vim.
As for some context, I only started using vim a bit over a year ago. The reason? I was fed up with the arrow/home/end/pageup/… keys on my laptop being a pain to use. So, I took up learning vim. Turns out it was love at first sight. Read the details here. I now use it anywhere I can, desktop, laptop, whatever. Ok, not anything, I think Blackberries don’t support it, and I don’t own one to begin with, but a vi/vim interface to the Blackberry would probably be very cool.
After this, I had to add vi/vim emulation to the text editor I’m developing – I wouldn’t have been able to test it without that. And once done, I thought it might work as a commercial add-in for Visual Studio, released last July. And it is working a bit: it seems there are more souls claimed by vi/vim out there.
A friend helped me do all the work, and we used the open source application InkScape to actually draw it.
It seems many people are visiting the cheat sheet & tutorial page – hopefully it will help them learn vi/vim, and it will also provide some nice exposure to ViEmu.
Although I don’t practice much proselitism in this aspect, let me state that one should look at vi/vim’s unique input model not as a relic from old times, but as a different UI model. Optimized for reducing keystrokes & maximizing editing power, both at the expense of the initial learning curve & operating simplicity. It doesn’t matter Bill Joy invented it in the 70s, if he hadn’t thought it up back then, someone would have to invent it today. Admittedly not for mainstream consumption, but I’d buy it as happily.