Many years ago during the text-editor holy wars, I sided neither with the Vi Ninjas nor the Emacs Samurai but instead went a third way – Pico (short for Pine Composer). It was the text editing part of the e-mail program I used (Pine). For many years, this served me well. Even today, Pico's successor - Nano – is installed pretty much everywhere. It isn't , however, quite powerful enough for fast-paced web development. Serious, full-time development needs shortcuts and macros, syntax highlighting and snippets. When you spend 10 or more hours every day pressing buttons to change flashing lights, you need to optimise the way the lights flash.

After Pico, I found Crimson Editor which served me well for almost 10 years. I eventually started working on a Mac and became a TextMate user for most of the last 5 years.

In my new job, I find myself jumping from computer to computer to desktop to server quite a lot. The only constant editor available is Vi. Or Vim (Vi Improved). I've been trying to pick it up as a way to ensure I can always jump into a friendly text editor no matter where I am. Besides, these days Vim is the old-new-cool thing that all the cool-old-kids use, particularly MacVim so I thought it was worth giving it a go to see what the fuss was about.

One of the biggest deciding factors in trying it out was actually fellow Edinburgh Web Dev/International Traveller Drew Neil (@nelstrom), creator and voice of the series of screencasts who is actually writing a book on Vim this very second as I write this. Most people are evangelical about their choice of text editor to the point of rabid fundamentalist, frothing-at-the-mouth, intoning-keyboard-shortcuts craziness (hence my allusions to text-editor holy wars). When I mentioned to Drew that I used Pico instead, his response was long the lines of "Fair enough". This lack of confrontation actually inspired me to try it out. Well played, sir.

Anyway, I'll give it a go and see what happens. If you're interested, I recommend reading Yehuda Katz' post 'Everyone Who Tried to Convince Me to use Vim was Wrong'. Don't worry, I'm definitely not going to try and convince anyone to use one code editor over another. You should probably stop using FrontPage, though.