It is debatable as to what the ‘best’ editor is in Unix/Linux world. I’m not going to attempt to answer that here, as it’s very subjective and besides the point. What I will do is outline the top 5 reasons that you should use vi, or at least familiarize yourself with it’s commands and basic usage.
Commands are quick and intuitive. After you’ve acquainted yourself with the commands, the built in functionality covers just about any task you can complete with a mouse.
Color syntax highlighting. If your terminal supports color, integrated syntax highlighting makes reading and editing scripts a much easier proposition.
You never have to leave your terminal. Most servers and production systems are located in a cold room with funny lighting, somewhere far away. If you’re working from a non-free operating system (GASP!), there’s nothing more annoying than having to upload the same file several times while you’re trying to tweak a setting. If you posses vi skills, you’ve already made your changes, saved the new file, and restarted your application, all before your mouse can even find the locally saved file!
It’s a ubiquitous application. It’s available on just about any *nix machine you’re likely to find in production today. If you work on or in a mixed OS environment, then you know it’s not very often your tools are so portable. Learn vi, and you’re covered for just about any appliance you can ssh into!
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