Mr. Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and BSD Unix, founded Vim after he failed to find a text editor tool in 1976. Emacs which was available then simply couldn’t meet his needs.
When people with less technical knowledge rely on graphical interface of text editors, program developers prefer Vim or Emacs text editor tool depending upon their choice and taste. Even after 40 years of development, no significant addition has happened to Vim. But an update of the same was unavoidable and thus Vim8 was launched. The new version focussed on bug fixing of the earlier version and also it came with some improvements.
The improvement in features is depicted below:
Jobs: Vim can now start a job, communicate with it and stop it, if required. This is very useful to run a process for completion and syntax checking. Channels are used to communicate with the job. Jobs can also read from or write to a buffer or a file.
Asynchronous I/O support: Vim can now exchange messages with other processes in the background via “channels”. This makes it possible to have servers do the work and send back the results to Vim.
Timers: Vim now supports asynchronous timers. These can be executed once or more. It invokes a function to do any work.
Plugin Package support: To keep track of increasing number of plugins in check, plugins manageable package support has been added. This is a convenient way to get one or more plugins. They can be dropped in a directory and possibly can keep them updated. Vim will automatically load them, or will do so when desired.
Window IDs: Earlier, Vim windows could only be accessed by their number. And every time a window would open, close, or move, that number changes. Each window now has a unique ID, so that they are easy to find.
There are other significant improvements as well. On the interface front, Vim now supports Microsoft Windows’ DirectX and the GTK3 GUI toolkit.
Vim 8 is now available for Linux, Unix, Windows, and macOS. The program is also available for other, more obscure operating systems such as AmigaOS. It will be automatically updated in the most modern BSD and Linux distributions.
Updated Vim really is a major step forward for vi developers and let’s see how the developers intend to play with this tool in future.