Saturday, April 24, 2010

Codeulate Screencast: Vim For Rails Devs

I got a free review copy of this nice 36-minute screencast from Ben Orenstein and I'm glad I watched it. Fair warning, this is affiliate marketing, if you buy a copy of the screencast I get a small commission. However, I'm going to go the simple review route rather than the hard-sell route.

I've been using vim and its predecessor vi for fifteen years at least, and I still learned a bunch of new tricks, yet the screencast starts out with some really basic stuff like how to learn to type quickly, making it good for beginners as well. My main takeaway was that Tim Pope's rails.vim is terrific, and that everybody should use ctags. Between rails.vim, ctags, and the Snipmate plugin, Ben's use of vim is very smooth and productive. Ben also shows how to use ack instead of grep in vim, which is a very nice improvement.

I think the screencast could have used more detail on how to download and install plugins, and a little bit of info on configuring .vimrc and syntax highlighting. (I also hear praise for the NERDtree plugin from people who use vim more than I do.) Overall, though, I think Ben's screencast is a nice bit of training, and certainly goes deeper than the average 5-minute Railscast. Peepcode has a great little screencast on emacs, but nothing on vim so far.

Ben also created a video on how to use Amazon S3 in a Rails app, and I'll be reviewing that soon.