I have been a dedicated vim user for most of my programming life and spent a lot of time hand-crafting a .vimrc that allows me write code at alarming (to me) speeds. A couple months ago, a couple coworkers who were fellow vimians decided to hop the fence and try emacs for awhile. I’ve always been a little curious about emacs myself, and in an effort to become a more well-rounded individual, I am trying emacs too.
Other than one quarter in college (in which I used emacs a little bit for a specific class), I’ve mostly on used vim. However, I am decently familiar with readline, which has the same navigation keybindings, and hoped at least learning navigation in emacs wouldn’t be too difficult. This has proven true.
After a couple weeks of almost 100% full-time emacs use, here are some of my initial impressions. One of the things that I’ve had to get used to in using emacs is that instead of thinking of it as a text editor that I open for editing files, thinking of emacs as the interface with which I interact with my computer. So instead of navigating directories in terminal and opening a file with vim, I navigate through directories in terminal mode in emacs in addition to editing files. This is rather handy in that keybindings are the same in all coding contexts, whether in terminal or in editing files. I’m getting more and more familiar with it now; the keybindings are starting to become instinct. Soon, I might start playing with the extension system to customize my experience a little more.