Why I stopped using viper, and am going to stop using Evil

Christoph LANGE langec at web.de
Thu Mar 1 11:54:16 CET 2012

Hi Matt,

my 2 cents, well, maybe 10 cents, on your mail.

In short: Thanks for sharing your experience!  Mine is quite different 

2012-02-29 20:36 Matt Armstrong:
> In short: it is easier to use one editor at a time.

In contrast to your experience, I appreciate to be able to use two 
editors at a time, and only Evil gives me the opportunity to do so.

I frequently use any Emacs keybindings that have not been overloaded 
with vim keybindings by Evil.  Not just the C-x and C-c prefixes, but 
also a lot of M-something.

Sometimes Emacs is just more convenient than vi.  Take for example M-c 
(capitalize-word).  This key has no meaning in vim (AFAIK), and it works 
both in Evil's normal mode and in insert mode.

I don't care about the theoretical possiblity to introduce reasonable 
keybindings in vim as well – I wouldn't want to make the effort.

> By default, Evil presents you vim key bindings, but makes you use Emacs key
> bindings too:
>   (a) see the huge list of modes in evil-emacs-state-modes

This is a separate problem I'd say, but agree with your concerns about 
this and would also appreciate an Evil solution for it.  There used to 
be viper-in-more-modes, which gave vi-style keybindings to a number of 
typical Emacs modes.  Indeed I would prefer vi-style keybindings to be 
introduced for all modes currently in evil-emacs-state-modes, but it 
will take time to get them implemented.

>   (b) insert mode has Emacs key bindings

My feeling about vi's insert mode is that it wastes a lot of potential.

> On (b), Evil gives me M-q, C-a, C-v, etc. while in insert mode.  This means
> I'm using two editors at once: vim and Emacs.  In Evil, many very basic key
> bindings do wildly different things when switching from normal to insert
> mode and back: C-f, C-b, C-v, etc.  Vim doesn't suffer from this (much)
> because insert mode is relatively free of key bindings.

It is IMHO a bug, not a feature, that, e.g., most (or even all?) 
M-something keys are not bound in vim's insert mode.

> The vi -vs- Emacs dichotomy is always there, creating friction.  This is
> certainly not the way Emacs would have designed its key commands were modal
> editing its initial design goal.

I agree that the design goal of Evil is (IIUC) to reproduce the vim 
experience as closely as possible in Emacs.  Still I think that Emacs 
can do certain things (even about editing, not just about "being an 
operating system") better than vi, and therefore I appreciate if these 
features remain accessible in Evil.  (OK, maybe as a customizable flag.)

But I might just be a privileged minority.  If the main goal of Evil is 
to give die-hard vim users an "operating system" (which vim doesn't 
quite do), I am not in the target audience.  I had advanced experience 
with both Emacs and vim before starting to use Evil.  (In short, I had 
been using Emacs for writing large files, and vim for reading or for 
writing small files.)  Now I appreciate being able to use the best of 
both editors in one editor.



Christoph Lange, http://www.facebook.com/ch.lange, Skype duke4701

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