Re: OT editors (was: Another view on analysis and ER)

From: Roy Hann <specially_at_processed.almost.meat>
Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2007 15:34:23 -0000
Message-ID: <>

"David Cressey" <> wrote in message news:v5v6j.400$ki7.14_at_trndny06...


> The only versions of vi that I have been exposed to were outrageously
> primitive when compared to the text editors of VAX/VMS from a quarter of a
> century ago. And EMACS looks like its even more sophisticated than those.

Having started out in the era of punched cards and paper tape I guess maybe I am excessively forgiving of anything that is recognizably an editor. On the other hand I have used a very large number of editors on everything from mainframes to the most capable PCs and everything in between so I can legitimately claim to know what I'm talking about.

Indisputably the best editor ever was called EDIT/1000 and it ran on HP's old HP1000 minicomputers back when molluscs were new. Right about the time I stopped using that, I started using vi. I hated vi. I swore at vi. I wished vi dead. But slowly, no thanks to any documentation 'cos there wasn't any really, I started to "get" vi. Around about the same time I started using emacs too. Emacs didn't do it for me but I could see what it was trying to do and that a reasonable person could love it.

But worse than any of them are the innumerable half-assed editors that every new IDE seems to feel the need to re-invent. They are all hideous.

Anyway, today I use vim. I carry it around on a flash drive in case I end up somewhere that doesn't have it.

And no one should diss vi until they know it well. Looking back, the great problem with vi then and now was the lack of a good tutorial. Ironically it did exist; it just wasn't widely known. It was only relatively recently that I found The Ultimate Guide to the vi and ex Text Editors, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-8053-4460-8. If you think you know vi, take a look. You will probably be surprised.

EDIT/1000 still sets the standard for the expressive power of its regular expressions. You will find something comparable in antlr today.

Roy Received on Sat Dec 08 2007 - 16:34:23 CET

Original text of this message