Textmate to vim – Part one

I, like many others, switched to the Mac largely due to Textmate; an excellent text editor that completely crushed the editor I was using at the time, Dreamweaver. Unfortunately,
Textmate’s development has all but stopped. That and an excellent post by Jonathan Snook on journeying into vim helped push me to try it out.

Transitioning to any new tool is tough. The transition from Textmate to vim was especially tough for me because I love Textmate, and vim is completely different from any other
editor I’ve used. I wouldn’t be writing this, though, if I didn’t feel like it was worth the transition.

I’m not going to write too much on vim movement and editing so much, because it has been done so well already by many others, including Derek Wyatt. I’d rather focus talking about how to duplicate the features that make Textmate so popular, and how you can make them happen in vim. I hope to make this part one of a series as I learn more.


The very first feature I was looking to replace was Textmate’s Command-T feature, which allows you to type in part (or all) of a file-name to open. It’s an extremely slick feature
that allows you to open a file very quickly without navigating to it in your directory tree.

I was using vim’s command-t plugin, which does a great job of bringing up files, but I then discovered
peep-code’s awesome peep-open, which has a fuzzy search and extremely relevant results. It’s almost as if they brought Quicksilver to your text editor! The beautiful thing about it compared to Textmate’s built-in results are that the path is included in your results, allowing you to dial in your results extremely fast. The full instructions are on their website.

So, one feature knocked down, many more to go. Future posts will talk about wrapping text, zen coding, the idea of a project, and more. I’m hoping to make this a discussion; how
have you begun to replace your editor with vim? What features in Textmate can’t you live without?


  1. I like your approach here of starting to blog each feature you port over from your textmate to your vim experience.

    Geany (a light weight ide) on Ubuntu, and notepad++ are what i was accustomed to using.
    I too am a big fan of derek wyatt’s video tutorials and have moved to using vim for windows and gvim for Ubuntu for the scripting and light programming I do. It’s been great so far.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what other functionality you tackle next. B-)

  2. I wrote an extended guide on moving from Textmate to VIM. I detail how to replicate 110 favourite Textmate actions in VIM. I’m sure you’ll find it useful.


  3. Check out my vim setup



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