Passionate Development From Journeyman to Master

Review of Vim for Rails Developers

Few months back when I started working extensively Vim, I came across a screencast from Ben that is specifically about using Vim for Rails Developer

I am the perfect target audience of the screencast - as I was both new to Rails and Vim.

It is a paid screencast, but Ben is kind enough to send me a free copy in return of a blog review. Well, this is the promised review - a couple of months late.

It goes without saying that the single most important plugin for doing Rails dev with Vim is Tim Pope’s Rails.vim. And the screencast does an excellent job in introducing and covering the basics of the plugin. It’s true that you could probably get all of the information from the documentation (:help rails), but having an experienced developer showing all the ropes is just priceless.

An example of some of the things that’s shown: when editing a Rails unit test vertically split the screen to open the model file that is being tested. A very handy thing to do when doing TDD.

In my opinion the coverage of this plugin alone has boosted my productivity the most from watching it. And that’s not all.

Ben then shows how he uses Snipmate which I haven’t had chance to try yet.

Next thing is ctags, which I just started to look at in last week (partly also due to watching a bit of Peepcode Play by Play with Aaron Peterson). I am interested in trying it out to navigate around Rails codebase (which shown on this screencast).

Ack - a grep replacement, is explained next as well as how to integrate it to Vim.

And then finally as a bonus, Ben shares some his very handy Vim tips.


When writing this review today, I just realized how information dense this screencast is. If you are newish to using Vim as your main editor, I would advise to focus on Rails.vim part of the screencast. The other bits can be investigated later.

It’s kind of obvious – while watching the screencast do open your Vim loaded with your Rails project, so you can try out things mentioned on the screencast straight away - this will help with remembering.

All in all a worthwhile screencast to watch, especially if you are just starting out on using Vim as your main editor for Rails. You will definitely watch it more than once given the amount of information in it.

The screencast can be found here: Vim for Rails Developer