I was reading about the Mac OSX Terminal app and somebody complained about vim being slow. A vim programmer shed some light on how to use vim’s amazing keyboard navigation:
Using Vim in Terminal.app, I can easily scroll about 5100 lines in 10 seconds, using ctrl-F or ctrl-B (scroll one page forward or back), if you’re trying to move a long distance in a hurry. I get the same speed in MacVim (which can update the screen much faster than Terminal.app), so I’m pretty certain that the limiting factor (at least in MacVim) is the keyboard repeat rate, not Vim’s ability to update the screen.
The only way I get roughly 120 lines in 10 seconds, is scrolling Vim (or MacVim) line-at-a-time by holding down “j” or the down arrow, and that’s clearly the default keyboard repeat rate (about 12 per second) limiting things.
You can easily adjust the keyboard repeat rate in System Preferences, in the Keyboard pane, by fiddling with “Key Repeat Rate” and “Delay Until Repeat”. But I’ve been using Vi/Vim/MacVim for a loooong time, and have never felt the need to have the keyboard repeat faster; the key (no pun intended) is to use Vim as it was intended…
Finally, nearly everything in Vim (and Vi before it) takes a repeat count argument. If what you want is really to jump 179 lines down, then type “179j” (and if you wanted to get to line 423, that’s “423G”). Use the full power of Vim as it was intended, and keyboard repeat rate will never be a limiting factor.
And if you’re using Vim on the Mac extensively, you owe it to yourself to check out MacVim — you can still start it from Terminal.app (an included helper script lets you type “mvim file1 [ file2… ]” at a command line prompt), but it’s much more Mac-like — cut’n’paste and drag’n’drop interact well with other programs, you get real scroll bars (drag those to move through a file really quickly), multiple editing windows, and you can use the mouse for selecting text, along with (practically) unlimited colors for color syntax highlighting (you do use that, right? “:help syntax” or just “:syn on” to switch it on), instead of the 16 colors you’re limited to in Terminal.app. And it’s fast.
Vim (and MacVim) is the ultimate programmer’s editor, if you take the time to really learn how to use it — it requires the smallest amount of hand movement to make changes (especially since one never has to reach for the mouse), it’s insanely customizable/programmable, and it has a very smartly laid out command set — yes, it has a steep learning curve, but for something that I use 10 hours a day, I’ll take easy/powerful to use over easy to learn any day.