Editor Crisis

When I got the Linux rig, I was pretty sure that I was going to live in vim--probably mostly the console version--while I work on weaning myself off of my TextMate dependency. It's not that I don't love TextMate, or that I can't afford it, but I think Linux/open source is where I'm headed, and in the short term I think I'd like one editor for both platforms, and that means open source. The problem? Vim is great, but I find it sort of tedious for day to day editing...

This is probably the result of the fact that most of my personal text processing (like 80%) is prose of one form or another, with the remainder being very limited code-related things. Vim is great if most of what you're doing is jumping around in a file, re-factoring code, and hunting for little bugs to tweak. It's not so good if you're writing a novel or a story and you only put carriage returns after each paragraph. I like vim a lot for short editing tasks, for writing email, for proof reading a document. For heavy duty lifting? I'm not yet decided.

I should introduce another character/factor into this story: my editing habit. Basically rather than grouping similar files into one window/buffer and toggling between various files, I really like having a bunch of different windows open. A bunch might understate it. At this moment I have 4/5 TextMate windows open, and I should probably have at least 7 (if I were more on top of my tasks) and more like 10-15 wouldn't be out of the norm.

Console vim works great with this usage paradigm, open a bunch of terminal windows, open them to the documents that they need to edit, and tag the terminals properly in Awesome, and I'm good go, except we run into problem 1 (editing prose in vim is bothersome). I've tried (and quite like) a GUI vim called "Cream" that totally fixes problem 1, but utterly fails at problem 2 (the usage paradigm).

So this leaves me? Using a hodge podge of solutions. I've taken to using gedit--of all things--for most prose writing. Gedit is the Gnome editor, and if you customize it right, it's reasonably functional. I haven't been able to hack Markdown support into it (and I haven't bothered with vim, so I must not be to keen upon it), and it won't post blog entries like TextMate, but it's decent, and I can have a number of different container windows, so I don't end up with a window with 20 different tabs open that I can't find anything in, and I use vim for anything that it seems like I can get away with.

Jack has been pestering me to convert to emacs for a while now, and after all this fuss, it's tempting. Emacs can handle blog posting, it's fundamentally a bit more like TextMate, [1] with "longlines-mode" it seems to handle prose pretty well, and the quirky things that I like about TextMate like its Screenwriting Bundle and LaTeX support seem to be handled a bit better in emacs. The multi-window usage paradigm is counter to the general emacs way of thinking, so that might be an issue. But the largest problem by far, is that to a newbie [2] like me it's like an alien world. Surprisingly enough, (e)lisp code is pretty easy to read, and the key commands are pretty easy to deal with. [3] So who know, I might make the switch yet.

Stranger things have happened.

[1]It's like we're not so much reliving the editor wars, as seeing resonances/shockwaves from them. For instance the key bindings have a lot of emacs in them, while Google Reader definitely seems like it was made by vim users. I think we should start a game of trying to figure out which apps and environments were inspired by which editor.
[2]I somehow manage to be both a huge advanced geek, (I live in terminals, I bought a linux desktop to run a tiling window manager, I almost live in text editors, etc.) And also I'm not a programer, and I don't have any background in that sort of thing, so the most rudimentary of coding things can confuse me terribly. It's a weird boundary to walk, and I should probably expand on it later.
[3]I've had my caps-lock key mapped to "control" for years now. I think I should probably--for maximum emacs foo--remap my right shift key to alt, but I'm withholding judgement for the moment.
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