If you edit configuration files by hand, or if you prefer a more "manual" approach to the process of writing, you most likely use a text editor.
Of the available editors there exists everything from bare-bones, no frills editors all the way to highly complex feature-abundant editors (and everything in between).
One of those editors was born out of a need to make one of the most powerful text editors available - vi.
For most users, vi offers too much with too little help. To that end, tools like Gvim were created. Gvim is a strange amalgamation of a standard text-based file editor and a graphical file editor. Its half vi half gedit. Let's take a look at how this editor can help you out.
The installation of Gvim is simple. I will demonstrate in Ubuntu. Since Gvim is found in the standard repositories, you can follow these steps:
sudo apt-get install gvim.
You can find Gvim in the Ubuntu Software Center (or the Add/Remove Software tool for your distribution), but since Gvim is a text-based editor, why not install from command line?
After the installation is complete, you will be surprise to not find a menu entry for Gvim. So to start up Gvim hit Alt-F2 and enter the command gvim in the run dialog. When the application starts, you will see a nice hybrid tool that will make using vi much easier.
As you can see, in Figure 1, Gvim has the standard editing window, but with a few editions. The most obvious edition is the tool bar. Add to that tool bar a menu bar, and you have the makings for an actual user-friendly vi experience.
If you've never used vi, let me give you the gist of how you type and save a file...step by step.
Quite a few steps just to save a text file right? Now, with Gvim, the same task looks like this:
That's it. Although only one step shorter, but a heck of a lot user-friendlier.
But don't Gvim only aids the simple tasks. Gvim also brings to the user some of the more challenging tasks such as:
And much more...all from handy drop-down menus and tool-bar icons. The developers of Gvim even thought to include a handy print button!
If you have been wanting to give the vi editor a go, you can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a helpful hybrid version of vi that will have you editing like a power user.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.