UPDATE: I guess vim 7 has been released already. Were have I been?
Being a data engineer as my profession, I spend most of my time in text editors, you guessed it, manipulating data. Because I am on a Windows XP workstation, this usually means VEdit. VEdit isn’t bad, and has very promising features for an advanced text editor. However, it is proprietary software. When in PuTTY, of course vim is the editor of choice. But even vanilla vim comes up short to what it really could do.
So, let me introduce you to Cream. Cream is a full fledged advanced text editor that takes vim to a whole new level. First, it is a GUI. We all know that the learning level of vim is fairly steep, so the GUI helps reduce that greatly. It gives you all the “standard” text editing keyboard shortcuts, plus, you can still keep the vim shortcuts as well if you prefer. Second, it has all the standard crap that a fairly decent text editor should come with, such as syntax highlighting and auto tab indent.
Then what makes it so great? Well, for me, it is column editing. If you aren’t familiar with column editing, this will be a good way to get you started. First off, text editors that come with this feature are the Cadillacs of text editors. Imagine for a second that you are coding some HTML- you want to make a list of 17 items. You know that you are going to have 17 “<li>” and immeditely following 17 “/<li>”. Why copy and paste 17 times when you can have all 17 appear on different lines as you type it only once? This is column editing. Or, say you are typing up some SQL and all (or many- it doesn’t matter really) of your fields are the same datatype. Why copy and paste several times when you can do it in one shot as you type? This is column editing.
That is only the beginning. The list of features is expansive and exhaustive. The only feature lacking, if you ask me, is a multi-tabbed interface. The Cream devs do plan on having this implemented when vim 7 arrives.
So, if you haven’t already seen Cream (no, not the band with Eric Clapton, although they are really good), I would suggest downloading it, installing it, and when you like it, spreading the love (pun intended).