Painters have paintbrushes, writers have pens, and coders have…well, text editors. Real life software hackery is less glamorous than what Hollywood would believe, but an experienced developer work a set of familiar tools is still pretty awe-inspiring.
The best editors are full of keyboard shortcuts, customizable, and highly extensible. At the various places I worked, the tools ranged from Textmate to Eclipse to Visual Studio to RubyMine, but there was always a group that insisted on the old-school: vim and emacs always worked, as long as there was a compiler and shell around. The speed that they were able to move around and edit files made up for the lack of language-specific features.
So, partially out of curiosity and partially out of necessity, I’m making myself learn vim. I don’t think it’s as extensible as emacs, and it seems harder to get started, but from what I’ve seen the raw text editing capabilities are awesome, and of course it’s the preferred editor for non-Windows servers.
As my colleague Jack says, I’ll “have a 3-foot beard in NO TIME”.