Recently, VimR caught much more attention than I anticipated; even too much considering its premature state. For about half a day it was the number three among the trending projects on GitHub! And it has got about 350 GitHub stars already. Some people asked (me) why I do this, the point being that there already is a GUI version of Vim, namely MacVim. Or that it does not offer any advantage over the terminal version of Vim. With this post I want to clarify the rationale behind VimR.
I started to use Vim as a student and loved it since then. I wrote my theses using Vim with VIM-LaTeX! I personally think the Vim-way is one of the most efficient way for editing, if not the most efficient. However, nowadays, I most of the time use IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA or AppCode for work and for hobby projects like VimR, respectively. (I use a Vim emulator though) Therefore, I am not and won’t be a real power user; rather, say, a appreciative casual user.
Modern graphical editors have many convenience features like fuzzy find (called Open Quickly in Xcode, Go to File in TextMate, etc.) or integrated file browser in the side bar. Sure, you can have all these features in Vim using various scripts like Command-T, NERDTree and what-not. However, since I don’t use Vim all the time, I always forget how to use them, eg how to invoke NERDTree, even if it was me who configured the key. And, most importantly, I want to have these kind of features graphically. It’s like the case of mutt/sup vs. graphical mail clients. I used to use mutt back at the university, but now, well, let me quote Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon: “I’m too old for this sh*t!” :)
So, to summarize: the rationale behind VimR is to build an editor which offers the full Vim experience, even if I don’t use all features of Vim, but has other convenience features—found in many other editors and in Vim scripts—in a graphical form, improving the whole editing experience. (This was @jordwalke's idea and he also encouraged me to start the project after he has seen my MacVimFramework project.)
For, say, purists, VimR could well be perceived as heresy or a way of disfiguring Vim, but, oh well…