Emacs versus Vim

Ten years ago I was a fanatical Emacs user. I knew it was so much more than just a text editor. I laughed at vi users, because vi was really a joke.

But vi improved over the years, and eventually I left Emacs and choose Vim as my preferred editor. Vim isn’t as powerful or elegant as Emacs (and for beginners, it has a much steeper learning curve), but it was better at two things I really wanted: syntax highlighting and Unicode support.

Emacs had syntax highlighting; it’s called /font lock/. Emacs also has a very smart automatic indentation system that is better than the one in Vim. But the font locking and auto-indenting are much slower in Emacs than they are in Vim. If I were an Emacs user now, I suppose I wouldn’t switch because my machine are so much faster than they were. So, I thought I would try Emacs again, and maybe switch back.

But the Unicode support I wanted wasn’t there. I don’t want anything too strange: I just want to be able to type some Japanese in UTF-8, but Emacs doesn’t like it. So it looks like I’ll be a Vim user for quite a while longer.

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