A Quest To Find Perfect Editor

I used to use Atom, it’s MIT licensed, got tons of extensions. I was happy, life was good. Then Microsoft baught Github. Soon enough, people started talking about future of Atom. Since they already have something similar called VSCode, I too started worrying about their long term commitment to Atom. Few of my friends use VSCode and I’d heard and seen some very good things about it. Now that both were owned by Microsoft, there was no reason to stick with Atom and not give VSCode a try. So I did. It turned out great. Extension support and community is so great that I installed extension for almost all languages I used to write in that time. I started using it as my main editor and kept searching for something that isn’t owned by MS. I wanted something I can trust to take it to my grave. Options were very clear – Vim or Emacs?

I had tried out these editors before and they require time and effort to get used to, which I had never invested. But, it was never Vim vs Emacs for me. Full disclosure, during my junior year in college, I got a chance to attened a talk by Richard Stallman and I was already influenced by FSF to some extent. After that talk, I tried quiting Facebook (which I eventually did), reading about life without Google and using Emacs as default editor. None of them actually worked out that time.

So now that I was looking for an editor, I reconsidered Emacs, until I accidently pressed some keys (C-x m) and a mail client like buffer opened up. I was already overwhelmed by it and things like these got me off. I just wanted an editor where I can code and not a mail client (it isn’t). That day, I started setting up Vim.

Soon enough, I got used to selecting and deleting words with ved and moving around line like 0 and $ and not being able to use these keys when writing mails or anything that involves typing or editing a little more than a word or two, turned out be an irritating point. That mail client looking like Emacs buffer started to make sense now. An editor that once you get used to will be there for you, whenever or wherever you need to type a word. Need a REST client, want to search through a command’s output or may be just want to write some plain English, it got you covered. Sure, Vim might also provide those things, but I moved back to Emacs.

If you want to move to Emacs, here is my take on setup to smoothly transition from your current editor.