I just got back from a three and a half hour video trip to the lesser-known Vim features with Damian Conway. This is my first O’Reilly review for one of their video courses and I can’t wait for the next one.

I especially appreciate their fuss-free policy. You get what you paid for: Several hours of polished, educational 720p video content and a tarball with all the code. You can either use their own video player online or—what I did and prefer—download all the videos and enjoy them offline. Once you hit play, you see a man or woman in front of a black void telling you something and switching to a captured computer screen when necessary. So far, so perfect.

Speaking of the man in the front… I love listening to Damian Conway. I can see now why he is such a welcome guest on conferences. Being a computer science professor probably wasn’t unhelpful either. Also: Hooray for his Australian accent.

Course cover image

Enough about the presentational layer, let’s talk content. I always admired people who orchestrate Vim with flawless keyboard mastery. I haven’t used the editor a lot lately, thus I wondered if this video course could teach me a thing or two that get me back in the game.

It did. Damian explains at the beginning, that the goal is not to make you a Vim goddess or god, but to focus on the kinds of features that are going to be of the most value to you immediately. This set my expectations straight and his approach worked pretty well. He talks about basics like cursor movement and the help system but also digs deeper into Vim covering topics like search, undo, command completion and the visual modes.

Nobody will ever know all Vim commands and Damian surely spared us some of the really advanced stuff (for a follow-up course, I hope). But since I had my editor open and tried everything right next to the video window, I have been able to memorize a lot. My .vimrc file has gotten significantly bigger and I am writing this review in Vim right now. Nice job!