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Hacking Vim 7.2 Paperback – April 29, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kim Schulz has an M.Sc. in Software Engineering from Aalborg University in Denmark. He has been an active developer in the Linux and Open Source communities since 1997 and has worked with everything from translation and bug fixing to producing full-blown software systems. This entire time, Vim has been Kim's editor of choice and it has been the first thing he installs whenever he sits by a new computer. Today Kim works as a full-time software engineer at CSR Plc. developing software for the next generation wireless technologies. A lot of Kim's spare time has been spent on developing the open-source CMS Fundanemt. This has lead to him now owning the web-hosting company Devteam Denmark that specializes in hosting and development of Fundanemt-based websites.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (April 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849510504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849510509
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,458,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Jansson on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
The intended audience
In the preface of the book it is stated that the intended audience of the book is intermediate to experienced Vim users and considering the subtitle "Ready-to-use hacks with solutions for common situations encountered by users of the Vim editor" I was lead to believe is a book for those that had been around block and need hands-on examples of production boosters. In my mind I expected it to be a kind of cookbook with small recipes for distinct problems. This is most likely because I have just read the excellent "PHP phrasebook" by Christian Wenz and "Python Phrasebook" by Brad Dayley which both does a great job in this genre of ready-to-use books oriented to more experienced users. The reason I find these books so great are that they acknowledge that the reader is intermediate to experienced and heads straight for the recipes leaving the basics behind. After having read "Having Vim 7.2' I am not as convinced that "Hacking Vim 7.2' succeeded as well in this genre as it dwells too much at the basics in my opinion, but I will return to this later.

A short review of the chapters
The first chapter starts of with a historical insight to Vim and while this can be interesting it seems a bit out of focus for this "ready-to-use hacks with solutions" book. I did not really feel very exited after having read this chapter, but luckily this was followed by the excellent second chapter "Personalizing Vim". This second chapter dives head first into actual Vim hacking with a bunch of well described small hacks to the standard setup including color highlighting, gvim menu hacking and font changing.
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Vim has the potential to dramatically increase a programmer's productivity if you have the time and wherewithal to learn it. And it is a challenge to learn because it is unlike any other text editor (leaving aside other vi clones). It takes work not only to learn the editor's features and commands, but also to train yourself to use them effectively. Even experienced vim users will discover new, exciting features from time to time. And that is what makes Hacking Vim a real treat. It takes you on a brief tour of some of the coolest features of vim without getting bogged down in any one of them.

Hacking Vim bills itself as a recipe book. While it provides quite a few good ones, it seems to be organized more like a tutorial, using the examples to walk through some of the cooler features of vim. That said, the recipes it provides are very useful and a good number have made it into my ~/.vimrc.

I found some examples to be overly contrived. The author could have done a better job relating samples to real-world situations. I also wish it had gone into more depth when explaining some examples early on. If you don't skip ahead and read the section on vim scripting (or know it already), there are a few traps in the examples.

For all that, though, my now heavily dog-eared and ruffled copy was well worth the money. Like other books from the same publisher, Hacking Vim stays on subject, maintaining its focus and pragmatism. Definitely a good source of worthwhile tips.
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With a title like "Hacking Vim," I though the book might contain more material about somewhat obscure vim scripting. The book does contain a somewhat cursory chapter on such, but also contains a rather extensive discussion of setting up the status bar, taking care of tabs versus spaces, and so on. All useful, I suppose, but those topics are easily (and briefly) covered on the web. Vim's user base is not Notepad's, and I continue to look for a book with good coverage of Vim scripting.
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I have been using vim for about 3 years, and found that this text offered me many new things, but nothing that blew my mind. The lack of 'blow your mind' vim tricks is made worse by the many small errors in the text. I cannot recommend it.
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