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Sublime Text vs Vim: What are the differences?

Introduction: Sublime Text and Vim are both popular text editors used by developers. While both are powerful tools, they have some key differences that distinguish them from each other.

  1. User Interface: Sublime Text provides a user-friendly graphical interface, making it easier for beginners to navigate and use. On the other hand, Vim operates entirely in the command-line interface, requiring users to remember various commands and shortcuts for efficient usage.

  2. Customization: Sublime Text offers a wide range of customization options. Users can easily install plugins, themes, and packages to enhance their workflow. In contrast, Vim is highly customizable, allowing users to modify the editor to their specific needs. Vim's flexibility comes from its ability to use a variety of scripts and plugins, providing extensive customization options.

  3. Modes: Vim operates in different modes, including normal mode, insert mode, command-line mode, and visual mode. These modes allow users to perform specific actions efficiently, such as editing, navigating, or entering commands. Sublime Text does not have separate modes and relies on different key combinations for different actions.

  4. Learning Curve: Sublime Text is generally considered easier to learn due to its graphical interface and intuitive design. It provides a gentle learning curve for beginners. Vim, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve as it requires users to learn its command-based system and various key combinations. However, once mastered, Vim's efficiency and speed surpass many other editors.

  5. Text Editing Features: Sublime Text offers a wide range of built-in features for text editing. Its functionality includes multiple selections, auto-completion, and column editing. Vim, on the other hand, is known for its powerful and efficient editing capabilities. It provides advanced features like macros, search and replace with regular expressions, and text manipulation shortcuts.

In summary, Sublime Text provides a user-friendly interface with a gentle learning curve and a wide range of customization options. Vim, on the other hand, operates entirely in the command-line interface, offers extensive customization possibilities, and has a steeper learning curve. Vim's efficient editing capabilities make it a popular choice for more experienced users.

Advice on Sublime Text and Vim
Rogério R. Alcântara
Needs advice
on
NeovimNeovim
and
VimVim

For a Visual Studio Code/Atom developer that works mostly with Node.js/TypeScript/Ruby/Go and wants to get rid of graphic-text-editors-IDE-like at once, which one is worthy of investing time to pick up?

I'm a total n00b on the subject, but I've read good things about Neovim's Lua support, and I wonder what would be the VIM response/approach for it?

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Replies (6)
Recommends
on
NeovimNeovimVimVim

Neovim can basically do everything Vim can with one major advantage - the number of contributors to the code base is just so much wider (Vim is ~100% maintained only by B. Mooleanaar). Whatever you learn for Neovim you can also apply to Vim and vice versa. And of course there is the never ending Vim vs Emacs controversy - but better not get into that war.

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Jeffrey Johnson
Recommends
at

Actually, the biggest advantage with Neovim (as a VS user) is that you can embed REAL Neovim as the editor UI, rather than using a "Vim emulation", you're using actual NVIM, embedded in VS!

"asvetliakov.vscode-neovim" is the extension you are looking for:

  1. Install the 'vscode-neovim; extension (https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=asvetliakov.vscode-neovim)
  2. Install Neovim version 0.5+ nightly
  3. Start winning.

(You can install neovim-nightly separately for just vscode, I usually build and install it to /opt/nvim - it's enough enough to do - let me know if you need help).

Works wonderfully. It might not work out of the box if you have some 100K epic nvim initialization file, but the plugin documents a workaround for having an embedding/VS specific configuration.

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Kudos Beluga
Recommends
on
NeovimNeovim

I don't actually notice much of a difference between the two, as the end result looks identical. If you use Vim and are switch to Neovim it's an extremely easy 1-minute process. I switched from Vim to Neovim. I can't say I found much of a difference, but the key points where Neovim could be better than just vim is that first, there are much more people maintaining Neovim compared to vim, which means fewer bugs and a modern code base. It also has a smaller code base which might result in a small speed improvement. Another thing is that it's basically just a fork of vim, so what harm can it do? ;)

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Recommends
on
VimVim

I recommend using vim 8+ it has native plugin support if you need language supports you can install the package vim-nox which will come with support for python, lua, ruby, etc

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Rogério R. Alcântara
Recommends
on
NeovimNeovim

The hints on the codebase's contributors and the VSCode integration helped me make up my mind.

I really appreciate all comments, though.

Thanks a bunch!

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Albert Kim
Recommends

It truly depends on whether you want to completely avoid GUI and stick to TUI and command lines. If you want to edit all of your codes within a terminal, then Vim or neovim would be the choice. Emacs can be run in a terminal, but the functionality is limited. Most people use Emacs using GUI and emacs-client not to use too much memory.

My general preference is to use an independent text editor, which is better if it is highly customizable and programmable. So, I have used Emacs for several years. For beginners, I guess Emacs requires significant time to learn to fully enjoy its wonderful functionalities. In that sense, using atom would be a recommendable option.

Regardless of all the situations, learning basic vim in the terminal will help you in any case. In summary, I recommend 1. vim as a default editor in the terminal 2. atom if you are a beginner, or 3. Emacs if you have a long-term plan to master a programmable editor

Other editors like sublime text, VS code, and so forth are also worth learning and using. But, no matter which editor you choose, stick to one or two until you become an advanced user. Being able to use most text editors at an intermediate level is waste of time.

I hope it helps.

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Decisions about Sublime Text and Vim
Kamaleshwar BN
Senior Software Engineer at Pulley · | 12 upvotes · 1.3M views

Visual Studio Code became famous over the past 3+ years I believe. The clean UI, easy to use UX and the plethora of integrations made it a very easy decision for us. Our gripe with Sublime was probably only the UX side. VSCode has not failed us till now, and still is able to support our development env without any significant effort.

Goland being paid, as well as built only for Go seemed like a significant limitation to not consider it.

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Andrey Ginger
Managing Partner at WhiteLabelDevelopers · | 3 upvotes · 502.4K views

Since communication with Github is not necessary, the Atom is less convenient in working with text and code. Sublim's support and understanding of projects is best for us. Notepad for us is a completely outdated solution with an unacceptable interface. We use a good theme for Sublim ayu-dark

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Simon Ibssa
Student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo · | 2 upvotes · 1.2M views

I decided to choose VSCode over Sublime text for my Systems Programming class in C. What I love about VSCode is its awesome ability to add extensions. Intellisense is a beautiful debugger, and Remote SSH allows me to login and make real-time changes in VSCode to files on my university server. This is an awesome alternative to going back and forth on pushing/pulling code and logging into servers in the terminal. Great choice for anyone interested in C programming!

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Pros of Sublime Text
Pros of Vim
  • 720
    Lightweight
  • 652
    Plugins
  • 641
    Super fast
  • 468
    Great code editor
  • 442
    Cross platform
  • 280
    Nice UI
  • 260
    Unlimited trial
  • 153
    Cmd + d is the best command ever
  • 92
    Great community
  • 46
    Package control, modules
  • 26
    Mac OS X support
  • 23
    Easy to get started with
  • 22
    Monokai
  • 21
    Everything you need without the bloat
  • 21
    Built in Python
  • 18
    Easy
  • 14
    Speed
  • 12
    Session & edit resuming
  • 10
    Package Control
  • 9
    Well Designed
  • 8
    Multiple selections
  • 7
    ALT + CMD + DOWN is the best command ever
  • 7
    Nice
  • 7
    Fast, simple and lightweight
  • 5
    It's easy to use, beautiful, simple, and plugins rule
  • 5
    So futuristic and convenient
  • 5
    ALT + F3 the best command ever
  • 5
    Great
  • 4
    Find anything fast within entire project
  • 4
    Easy to use
  • 4
    Free
  • 4
    Simple and clean design
  • 3
    Hackable
  • 3
    Pretty
  • 3
    UI + plugins
  • 3
    Sublime Merge (Git Integration)
  • 2
    Totally customizable
  • 2
    Color schemes and cmd+d
  • 2
    Material theme best theme forever
  • 0
    Const
  • 347
    Comes by default in most unix systems (remote editing)
  • 328
    Fast
  • 312
    Highly configurable
  • 297
    Less mouse dependence
  • 247
    Lightweight
  • 145
    Speed
  • 100
    Plugins
  • 97
    Hardcore
  • 82
    It's for pros
  • 65
    Vertically split windows
  • 30
    Open-source
  • 25
    Modal editing
  • 22
    No remembering shortcuts, instead "talks" to the editor
  • 21
    It stood the Test of Time
  • 16
    Unicode
  • 13
    VimPlugins
  • 13
    Everything is on the keyboard
  • 13
    Stick with terminal
  • 12
    Dotfiles
  • 11
    Flexible Indenting
  • 10
    Hands stay on the keyboard
  • 10
    Efficient and powerful
  • 10
    Programmable
  • 9
    Everywhere
  • 9
    Large number of Shortcuts
  • 8
    A chainsaw for text editing
  • 8
    Unmatched productivity
  • 7
    Developer speed
  • 7
    Super fast
  • 7
    Makes you a true bearded developer
  • 7
    Because its not Emacs
  • 7
    Modal editing changes everything
  • 6
    You cannot exit
  • 6
    Themes
  • 5
    EasyMotion
  • 5
    Most and most powerful plugins of any editor
  • 5
    Shell escapes and shell imports :!<command> and !!cmd
  • 5
    Intergrated into most editors
  • 5
    Shortcuts
  • 5
    Great on large text files
  • 5
    Habit
  • 5
    Plugin manager options. Vim-plug, Pathogen, etc
  • 4
    Intuitive, once mastered
  • 4
    Perfect command line editor
  • 1
    Not MicroSoft

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Cons of Sublime Text
Cons of Vim
  • 8
    Steep learning curve
  • 6
    Everything
  • 4
    Flexibility to move file
  • 4
    Number of plugins doing the same thing
  • 4
    Doesn't act like a Mac app
  • 3
    Not open sourced
  • 2
    Don't have flutter integration
  • 2
    Forces you to buy license
  • 8
    Ugly UI
  • 5
    Hard to learn

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What are some alternatives to Sublime Text and Vim?
Atom
At GitHub, we're building the text editor we've always wanted. A tool you can customize to do anything, but also use productively on the first day without ever touching a config file. Atom is modern, approachable, and hackable to the core. We can't wait to see what you build with it.
Visual Studio Code
Build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favorite platform - Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.
WebStorm
WebStorm is a lightweight and intelligent IDE for front-end development and server-side JavaScript.
Notepad++
Notepad++ is a free (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.
Brackets
With focused visual tools and preprocessor support, it is a modern text editor that makes it easy to design in the browser.
See all alternatives