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Getting it down on `paper`

Depth vs Bredth Knowledge: The Tools We Choose

I’m struggling with vim. I’m trying to change the bindings for python files so that vim auto-indents in accordance with PEP-8. This aroused feelings of frustration not so deep inside of me. Do I spend more time learning my tools inside and out, or do I explore other alternatives? Is it even worth exploring the alternatives? Emacs is the new cool kid on the block… again. Do I switch and learn that? Do I double-down on my knowledge of vim? What’s the opportunity cost for spending all this time learning the ins-and-outs of my tools?

They say you become more productive when you use your tools more skillfully. I agree. I can see how learning the inner workings of vim could make me a faster better? programmer. I’m not really asking about vim vs emacs. I’m posing a hypothetical question: When is it better to keep on looking, and when is it better to become more thoroughly acquainted with what you have?

I suppose the answer could be as simple as this: Do your research before choosing. Once you make that decision, learn as much as you need. If you find yourself in need of more, then dive in and learn its deepest secrets. If after knowing everything possible about your tool, you’re still unsatisfied, then perhaps its time to move on. I suppose tool selection is a lot like dating. When you find someone you like, you get to know them a little more. If you uncover an inescapable flaw, that’s your signal that you should seek alternatives. If everything’s going smoothly, you continue to make investments of time and effort with the one you’ve chosen, the one who has your back, the one that makes impossible things possible. That’s how you know that you’ve found a keeper.

Edit: And guess what’s making headlines today! Why I Use Vim. Published long ago, it just surfaced on the HN.

 

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