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Learning the vi and Vim Editors, Seventh Edition

What your opinion of this book will be is very dependent on your expectations. If you were after a simple, reader-friendly introduction to the editors, with a few basic "getting started" commands, then you will be disappointed. The only way of reading the book with any kind of success is to take it in "bite-size" chunks, practising every bit as you go - almost, if you will, like taking an evening class at a FE college, with the book as the tutor. If this is what you were wanting, then it is very good. From the other perspective, however, if you are already an advanced user, then the book functions less well. Its tutoring style becomes tedious when you are simply trying to find a command to carry out a particular task, and although a command list and glossary are provided, some more straightforward examples could be of use. (For those who like a challenge - try to remember all the different commands introduced in each chapter - it's almost impossible!)

For future versions of this book, I'd recommend the authors to develop an on-line / CD tutoring resource, providing the user with tasks and questions, as this would both define the the book more in terms of its purpose, and make it more user-friendly. I know vi is based on the command line, but that doesn't mean all its users are stuck in the 1970s!

Overall rating: 5/10

Richard Hornby

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