This past weekend I was fairly busy working on a new side project of ours.  This side project is a math learning tool for my nieces and nephews in HTML5.  It’s a space invaders type game, with graphics created by yours truly, where for each successfully solved problem a creature is blown up.  This is my first time through the entire game development process.  Robey is helping me along, but I’m writing most of the code.  On top of that I’ve also been learning how to use a different text editor than the one I had been using (Sublime Text), Vim.  Vim has a variety of different key-stroke combinations that made writing code in the beginning a little choppy, but it’s slowly becoming much easier, and in some cases surprisingly faster.

There are some awesome things about this text editor that don’t exist in the one I’ve tended to use.  One example is the easy copy/paste key-strokes, that is once you get used to them.  You can copy paste things via key-stroke simply by hitting the number for the amount of lines below where you are that you want to copy, and then hit d twice in quick succession.  That then deletes the amount of lines you selected from the code.  However, they are not permanently deleted, as they are now accessible if you simply type the letter ‘p’.  Just locate yourself within the text as appropriate, and it allows you to simply copy that same text as much as you want.  In many way I feel that this kind of key-stroke would be helpful for writers in a word file.

Some key strokes definitely slowed things up at first, mainly the save key-stroke combination.  To save you must hit the esc key if you’re in edit mode and then type in :w and hit enter to save.  I’m so attuned to the ctrl+s combination that I using it quite often still when learning the new save method.  I also had a hard time remembering to type in i when I wanted to type in anything.  I do enjoy using just my keyboard if possible, so I think that I will find many of these combinations to be much more natural as time goes on.  It also helps that some of these key combinations will be added into our Kickstarter text editor project, Betwixt.  

The last thing I wanted to mention about Vim, was that the original screen coloring really threw me off.  At one point when we were discussing the organization of the HTML (which I’ve interacted with HTML a fair amount and know most of the terms/organization), I had serious issues even understanding what Robey was asking me about because I wasn’t connecting the screen I was looking at with the HTML I knew.  So when I had simply typed in some divs without thinking about nesting, Robey tried to walk me through why it would be a bad idea...which I couldn’t even understand what he was talking about.  That just reminds me how much a simple change in font and organization can block understanding.  One could also think of it as akin to symbol shock.  

Up Next Time: New images and more description regarding our math game