Jack Baty / Scribbles
March 31st, 2024

Status update on my move away from Evil mode

The short version is that while it's been frustrating, I'm getting more comfortable using the normal Emacs bindings with each passing day. I've been using Vim or Vim-style bindings for more than 20 years, so this is a big deal.

With Emacs bindings, I don't have to do anything in order to start typing. Wherever the point is, that's where whatever character I type goes. Immediately. For example, there's no need for custom lisp so that I'm dropped into insert mode when I'm prompted to type a commit message in Magit. 

With evil-mode, it was almost as if there was an invisible film over the text and I had to press a key in order to remove that film and start typing. Using the mouse to select and manipulate text feels more natural, too. I know that sounds weird.

Not worrying about the level of support for evil bindings in packages is nice. Also, there are no more evil-collection conflicts to deal with. Everything just works the same no matter what. I am happy about this. It takes a load off the ol' cognitive stack.

Typing C-n and C-p is really no more difficult in practice than typing j and k.

I do miss the verb->noun flow of things like diw and the movement commands like gg and G. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of using the vanilla Emacs keybindings is that many of them also work everywhere else (in macOS), which creates a nice consistency. I'm using Emacs movement keys while typing this post in a browser. I can now use the same bindings in Emacs as I do in BBEdit, which is my secondary editor. No longer will I need to look for plugins or add-ons that mimic Vim bindings in other apps. Basic text editing in all my apps work the same by default. This is really nice. I didn't realize how much energy it eats up to oscillate between Vim and non-Vim bindings all day.

I'm quite surprised to find that I may no longer be an evil-mode user. I'll know for sure once I change $EDITOR 😄.