Reasons to Switch to Emacs

The other day I came across this video by Luke Smith challenging the rest of the world to convince him to switch from Vim to Emacs. He was very specific: he wanted videos showing Emacs in action that offer cogent arguments for abandoning Vim and moving to Emacs. He’s not interested in written arguments; he wants a video to convince him.

My immediate reaction was, “Are you kidding me?” You want me to spend a couple of hours making a video so you don’t have to bother researching the issue yourself? The whole thing reminded me of that HomeAdvisor commercial where a couple wants their neighbors to find them a contractor, do a background check, and book them an appointment.

Long time readers know that, even though I’m a hardcore believer in the Emacs way, I used Vim for many years and understand that it’s the right editor for many people. Whether to choose Emacs or Vim depends on your workflow and mindset. It’s not something someone else can decide for you, you have to try both editors out and decide which is best for you.

There are, however, folks less curmudgeonly than me who did offer videos showing why they considered Emacs the right choice. Dawid Eckert (Uncle Dave) provided not one but two videos. Uncle Dave focused mainly on how Emacs makes editing and text manipulation easy and stressed Emacs’ extensibility. He showed how it’s easy to add an editing function that he misses from Vim.

JimKD also offered a video. He stressed writing in \mathrm{\LaTeX} —important to Smith because he’s getting ready to write his thesis—and the joys of Org mode tables.

Those videos are all great and worth watching for anyone who is or wants to become an Emacs user. I especially liked seeing exwm in action in Uncle Dave’s videos. I wish there was something similar for the Mac.

The final irony is that what Smith wants was already available. If you want to see Emacs in action and some of the excellent packages available for it, Mike Zamansky’s Using Emacs Series is ideal: it’s got several relatively short videos that demonstrates the power of Emacs. If you’re interested in what Org mode can do, Rainer König’s OrgMode tutorial videos cover most of Org’s capabilities. All this is available for the watching; all you have to do is look for them. Or read about them in tweets and blogs.

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