Vim is not a good replacement for an IDE

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Vim is not a good replacement for an IDE


Post by Blogio » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:29 pm

I love vi... always have. It's my go-to editor.

So, when I see all these people showing gorgeous screen shots of how vim can replace VSCODE or CODE::Blocks, I took them seriously. After extensive research, I can say that this is complete BS. The vim community is completely fractured.

The best code completion plugin (YouCompleteMe) won't work on my version of vim because the people running the project decided to only support the latest Ubuntu release. That leaves everyone on a Debian release out of the picture. There are a number of other good completion options, but the momentum is clearly behind YCM.

My Debian vim is compiled with python 3 support, and not python 2, which apparently breaks a number of useful plugins. This is yet another reason to never include python in your plans. I'm sure that python 4 will break everything as well.

My point is that nothing about vim plugins is straightforward. It's very clubby.... very nerdy in a bad way. Things sort of, kind of, maybe on a good day.... work, but just barely. You're talking about dealing with at least 50 independent plugins (this includes identifying them, installing, learning to use, debugging, reconfiguring, remapping keys, etc.) to create a typical IDE environment. It's a huge amount of work, and there's no guarantee it will be a complete success.

Every IDE out there gives you all the things that vim development tools promise, but they do it all at once... with well-advertized keypress combinations. You don't have to know the secret handshake to get code completion to jump to references in your code. Those features are all there in a menu system that's documented, and it just works! Vim, technically, can deliver such an experience, but if anything goes wrong, you need to dive into the code written by who know who, instead of fixing just one codebase. But I can't get it to work, even copying the examples of others. I'm giving up on vim for a stand-alone IDE.

I really regret buying into the propaganda surrounding vim. I like the editor as an editor, but based on my experience, the cost of setting up and learning a vim system (which keeps breaking itself over time) is a foolish investment of time.
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