The only text editor you'll ever need!
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 12, 2019

The only text editor you'll ever need!

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with Vim

Vim is used as the default text editor for our Linux-based servers (Vi alias' to Vim as well). It is used only within the I.T. department, and only when text editing (or viewing text files) directly on servers is required. The reliance on Vim has been reduced in recent years due to the push to a more disciplined continuous deployment paradigm in which changes are only ever made locally on developer's machines and then committed to a source control repository. However, it retains its presence within the configuration management team, and even development teams, when debugging deployed software on servers.
  • Vim is incredibly light-weight with little to no dependencies and is almost guaranteed to exist on any GNU/Linux server that you have. You won't have to worry about managing package dependencies to get it on any system that currently doesn't have it. It won't ever hog resources or be the bottleneck in your coding/editing process.
  • Vim is highly configurable. I would say extensible, but really, it's the configuration and plugin capability that I want to highlight. It can function and look like anything you want - that's why it's so popular even with coders who want to optimize it for everything from C/C++ coding to Python coding. Syntax highlighting, code linting etc are all supported. But for just text editing and viewing, you can make it look exactly like you want - and then because of its highly portable nature, if you use Vim on another system, you can just grab the configuration file and voila! you've got it looking exactly like you had set up in seconds!
  • Vim promotes productivity. Really, this is a no-brainer. with all it's shortcuts, and ability to map keys to functions, it really makes viewing, editing, selecting, tweaking, text files highly efficient.
  • It has some esoteric functions that are really useful. So this point is something that I find is underrated. Often times, when transferring files between different Operating Systems, or even moving files using different protocols (saying you're using SFTP to get a file from one spot to another, or then you're storing it on NFS and then moving it locally, etc), you'll get weird issues with the file that may not show up unless you can spot the glyphs visually - that's where Vim comes in. It has the ability to show the corrupted portions of a file in a visual way so you can easily see which portions of the file are messed up
  • Although all of this review thus far has been focused on the Linux version, there is a Windows version of Vim. And it's kind of weird. It isn't broken per se, but it certainly doesn't have the same look and feel of the Linux version. Of course, I'm not referring to the fact that it has a GUI, but it isn't really optimized. And that's a shame because users who are trying to get into Vim, but happen to use Windows tend to get a negative impression
  • The built-in documentation of Vim sometimes tends to assume you already know how to use it, and its jargon can be off-putting for newcomers. There is a plethora of amazing how-to's out there online, which is fantastic, but the in-line help function is limited, which means you'll be learning Vim, outside of Vim.
  • The enhanced productivity that using Vim results in is fantastic. There is no need to roll out any text editor on the myriad of servers of we in order for config files to be read/written. Moreover, by standardizing on Vim, we know that everybody will know exactly how to access the text files
  • There are no security loopholes to using Vim that I know of. So having a tool that won't result in your system being exploited is a huge ROI in today's environment
I think it comes down to usability (and frankly, just preference). There's an old adage that Emacs is a good Operating System with a poor Text Editor!

Jokes aside, when looking at different text editors, such as Emacs or Nano, Vim is the one that is usually always preferred because of how simple it is to learn. The learning curve of Vim compared to other text editors just makes it such a natural choice.
We've literally never needed to access any commercial support for Vim. Granted it is open source and community supported, so the sheer amount of online resources that are well-articulated, well maintained, and most importantly, enthusiastically discussed means you will never encounter an issue that hasn't already been solved a dozen different ways. And that level of support is a real comfort. In fact, there are blogs out there that are dedicated to just coming up with really handy tips on how to optimize your usage of Vim!

Do you think Vim delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Vim's feature set?

Yes

Did Vim live up to sales and marketing promises?

Yes

Did implementation of Vim go as expected?

Yes

Would you buy Vim again?

Yes

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), VMware ESXi
I would recommend Vim in any scenario where text files have to be viewed, created, or edited on GNU/Linux computers. Regardless if you need to quickly change a few things in a configuration file, or you need to write up a full document, Vim is great.

I wouldn't use Vim to view, edit, or create anything that requires "rich-text". In other words, if you need to format the text (bolding, font colours, word-art, etc), then Vim isn't the tool to use.