My Setup Part 2: Vim and Coding

Working on my diploma thesis, like seen in the last post, I’m currently writing a lot. Especially since I’m writing lot of different things like configs, code, as well as the thesis itself I got used to really relying on a small amount of tools I try to master instead of using different tools for each task. I will try to outline this, as well as the hardware in use.

The main tool in my workflow currently is Vim. Even though it is a very old editor, in my opinion it probably is at least one of the most powerful, especially when it comes to customizing it. I use it to edit pretty much everything, and since syntax highlighting for a lot of stuff is build in I don’t need to rely on a lot of outside themes, modes, and plugins but there are some essential ones. First of all there is snipMate, which brings the awesome power of snippets, known to Mac users from TextMate, to Vim. It’s just so much easier to Code if you just have to type def TAB to get a whole new method setup when editing ruby, instead of writing it out yourself.. and Thats just the beginning defining your own snippets is easy, and the included ones are powerful as well.

Other very nice plugins are surround, to quickly change tags in HTML or LaTeX, as well as endwise to make sure you don’t forget those brackets at the end in C or the end in Ruby. To manage plugins, modes, as well as themes I use autoload provided by pathogen which enables automatic loading of every plugin you put in a special folder. For everybody interested all my configs are available at Bitbucket, because there is so much more about Vim configuration I’m not going to describe it all here. Also check out vimcast I pretty much get to know a new great feature every time an episode is out.

On the Terminal side of things I got used to use screen to manage a whole bunch of ssh sessions, as well as to get an IRB running every time I open a Terminal, which is extremely handy since most of the code I write is ruby, and explorative programming makes a lot of things a lot easier. Of course I use Vim as an interactive editor for IRB which makes editing those code snippets I try out a breeze, and wirble to give me autocompletion in IRB.

I guess it’s kind of obvious that I’m a big Mac/Unix fan so to round it up I use a first generation Macbook Pro Unibody as my main machine, running VMWare Fusion to administer those XenServers under XP, as well as to give myself a Linux environment when needed. Currently the Macbook is equipped with a 500GB HDD as well as 4GB of RAM to keep those VMs running smoothly. Until today I was using a 500GB FW800 Drive for Backup, which sadly died today and will be replaced with something RAID1 and about 1TB shortly.

Thats it for this Post, I will be continue this series hopefully soon, and maybe include some things about my home Windows 7 Nettop Box as well.

Stay tuned, also for more XenServer Stuff which is on it’s way as soon as seamless migration is working as I want it to between those mentioned locations. Until then I’ll be hacking away happily using the old and trusty Vim ;).

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