Friday, April 23, 2010

Why Far Manager and Vim are awesome

Far Manager and Vim are both console tools. When non-computer folks see blue panels of Far on my screen they are usually surprised like "DOS? But why?". These folks still remember DOS windows (DOS Windows, huh), but if some fourteen years adult tells me something about DOS it will be my turn to be surprised.

Far Manager is essentially a Windows console Swiss Army Knife. Much like Vim is for Unix. While GUI tools are awesome, they are not as responsive as console ones, not deterministic - I know it sounds horrible, but it just means that at any given moment you can't be sure what a given combination of  keys will do. It depends on the focus and this focus is not always clearly visible. Interaction using mouse is slow (if you're not a hardcore gamer, of course). But I actually written this post to say that:

You don't need to press "ENTER" for most used commands and that is awesome!

In Far you may setup shortcuts as easy as pressing F2 and then Ins. Every action is reachable as a series of key presses. You don't need to put you hand off the keyboard to reach the mouse. Forget about mouse - you will need it only for copy/pasting. You may easily automate repeated key pressing by using Ctrl-. then typing the keys you like and then hitting Ctrl-. again. You'll be prompted for a key combination that will invoke the keys you've just written. Repeated edits, replacements, file renames, copies - a lot of things can be automated using this shortcut called Macro.

Another from many Far features you may find awesome is output redirection. By using edit:< prefix on the command line you may redirect the output to embedded editor and navigate around it as you like. With Colorer plugin you will even get syntax highlight for the output.