Syntax highlighting in Perl

Andy Wardley abw at
Mon Oct 16 15:47:26 BST 2006

Peter Corlett wrote:
 > Relying on the mouse is a bit of a show-stopper,

It doesn't strictly _rely_ on the mouse, as everything has a key combination
or can be bound to one, AFAIK. But like emacs, the more you bind to keys, the
weirder the key combinations you have to remember.

 > as is its non-existence on anything other than OSX.

Yep, major bummer.

 > If I've got to know Emacs or vi *anyway* when I'm
 > poking around Unix systems, why bother confusing things with yet another
 > editor with more keybindings to get confused with?

There's some element of truth in that. Although that's the same argument
people used to use for not learning Emacs, back when Vi was the only editor
you could rely on being installed on every Unix. And on DOS, the same argument
held for using EDLIN :-)

The good news is that for standard navigation it uses are the same default
bindings as OSX which are the same as Emacs (^A/^E start/end of line, ^K/^Y
kill/yank line, etc).

 > Anybody who's wondered why they got a debugger in Emacs when they tried to
 > save a file, and then realised they typed :wq, or have had their terminal
 > lock up in vi because they did ^X^S will know what I mean.

Indeed. And made even harder when also switching from Apple's keyboard layout
(for Ctrl, Alt, Command, etc., in particular) to a "regular" layout.

But the human brain has a remarkable capacity for context switching and it
typically takes no more than a few clumsy moments for my fingers to "switch
major modes" between TextMate, Emacs and/or Vi.

However, your points are well made.  It *is* a major pain having to learn a
new editor, whichever way you look at it.  But all said and done, I never
regretted the time I spent learning Emacs over Vi (in the end!) and I'm
certainly not regretting the (far shorter) time it has taken me get my hands
around TextMate. In both cases I've seen a significant productivity boost
that has more than paid back the time and effort spent.


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