Hakan Alpay

Hi, I'm Hakan Alpay.

I'm a sophomore at UCLA studying Computer Science and the vice president of Billiards Club. I like to develop videogames, logos, languages, and crazy Counter-Strike strategies. I also think too much, and hence this blog was born. I would love any feedback you have on my site!

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Time to Learn Vim

I know this has been said a thousand times but if you happen to be in a situation where you only have a low-end laptop and you want to make a Vue app or code anything really, do give Vim a try.

I downloaded Visual Studio Code on this $180 Dell Inspiron (that was lying around at my grandmother’s house) and even after removing all the bloatware, it still only chugged along with both Chrome and VScode running. I’m a GUI editor guy, and the only terminal text editor I really like (at the time) is Micro.

But Git Bash couldn’t pick up Micro even though it was in the path, and the only text editors it has are Vim and Nano (I think). I knew in order to code on this computer without it becoming totally unresponsive, I would have to use stock Vim as an IDE. Gulp.

One hour later, it’s actually not that bad! I am using Netrw (Vim’s tree view) as a tree view sidebar to display all the files of the project. It is set up to look like NERDtree. And I learned most of the text editing commands I care about. There’s quite a few, and they can get complicated but I realize that it’s better for them to be there when I (or anyone) needs to use them, rather than not at all. And if you’re not going to use them, that’s ok too!.

I’m actually making some progress now on this Vue tutorial with only Vim as an IDE. I’m using virtually no memory compared to an Electron app like VScode. And I decided to use Edge instead of Chrome to save even more memory. Now this computer is comparitively quite spritely! :)

So if you were scared of Vim like me, remember that you don’t have to know the commands that you won’t end up using anyways.

And if you get to know Vim really well, then you can make any computer a productive coding environment because so many machines have it installed. Whenever you SSH into a Linux machine at your school to do homework, you can always use Vim to edit the code on their end. If you end up with some else’s computer and you don’t like their coding editors or if they are too slow, you can hop into bash and open the project with Vim (provided that their Vim config is not too weird).

If you still prefer something Notepad++-level intuitive, try Micro, but if you’re only on Git Bash/MinTTY on your grandma’s laptop which can’t open Micro or too many other binary programs for some reason (I still haven’t figured out), you’re better off using Vim (I had also considered downloading WSL but it would take too much space for not enough benefit).

And no I am not gonna use Emacs. If there’s one thing CS35L taught me, it’s that I don’t have any idea what’s going on in that application. And it uses more memory than Vim (Reader Comment: But it has games! My Reply: Granted, it does have games).

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Here’s another view of UCLA at night from Rieber Hall 7th floor.