Vim for rails developers: a screencast review

I have recently published my first article of this series. It got a very nice feedback and I am very glad about that, it encourages me to keep it on. As part of the feedback I got a very nice email from Ben Orenstein. He was so kind to send me a copy of his screencast Vim for rails, asking me for feedback. So, here we are. I was already familiar with most of the topics covered in the screencast and I think this is a good point if you were asked for feedback. I would like to cover it in an article because Ben’s work is definitely worth spreading.

The screencast

The screencast has a good recording quality and Ben speak a very clear English (it does count for non-native speakers you know :)). So I think you should be able to follow all the part of it without problems. Furthermore, the screencast is neither long nor short, the length is just perfect.


The screencast starts with a short and nice introduction. It shows you how to improve your typing skills, Ben gives you nice suggestions on resources you should use for the matter.


The part about rails.vim has a very nice subtitle and introduces to you the most important features of rails.vim. Ben shows you how to familiarize with Rfind, one of the most important commands of rails.vim (I have to confess I still prefer FuzzyFinderTextMate though). He follows with the explanation of the R* command set. Then he gives you a very good explanation of the gf feature, describing it with a perfect definition context-aware. Ben covers the most important aspects of rails.vim and he finishes his tour with various examples of the related-files feature of rails.vim.


I’m going to talk about snipmate in my next article of the series, because I really love it and advise everyone to use it :) By the way, Ben covers it very well, showing you many good examples and helping you personalize them.


Tags feature is one of the most interesting features of vim and I completely agree with Ben on the necessity of covering it in a screencast. Ben presents ctags and performs a complete description of tags features in vim. Furthermore, he gives you nice tips on how to use tags from the command line.


I confess I wasn’t familiar with ack and I want to thank Ben for introducing it to me. Now I use it on a daily basis and I can say it’s better than grep, practically (see comments) it’s grep for programmers (Ben defines like that as well). Ben will convince you to use it with a perfect example, giving you tips on its configuration. Of course, the part contains some good advice on ack using within vim.


I think you should buy this screencast even only for this part of the screecast. Ben will show you a bunch of great tips and I’m sure they will be a great source of inspiration for learning some little-known vim features. In my humble opinion, this is the best part of the whole screencast. It will definitely help you to make a step further in your vim.


So here we are. I think the point is Should I buy it? and I want to answer straight away. Yes, you should. It will give you great information and inspiration. You get a product of great value for little money.

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