I have been using Vim for almost 14 years now. I have tried many editors with Vi modes or plugins. None of them satisfactory. The reason for my infidelity are lack of projects, fuzzy finder, and looks (yes I am a shallow bastard).
I have tried many times to use NERDTree. I am not going to into why, but in general it just feels clunky: It feels like someone tried to turn an editing pane into a file tree view. I know many love NERDTree, but I have tried, and don’t.
I have tried many different cmd-t/fuzzy-finder like plugins, but have never been totally happy with any of them. Actually that isn’t 100% true, as I was happy with Fuzzy Finder until I tried Sublime Text 2. More on that below.
For the above two reasons, I have been cheating on Vim with Sublime Text 2 (ST2) a lot lately. The fuzzy-finder in Sublime Text 2 is heads and tails above anything else I have used. ST2 has a great look, I love the file drawer it has, and it has a Vi mode (cleverly named Vintage mode). Using ST2’s file drawer made me realize I don’t really need projects, just a file tree which I can set the root to that of to my project’s root directory. I never didn’t find much use for the actual ‘projects’ feature of ST2.
So why didn’t I just use/switch t0 ST2? Because the Vintage mode is actually broken in a lot of ways, even on the very simple commands; namely linewise cut and paste.
Somehow in my internet travels I have come across two gems (not the ruby kind) that have given me all I ever wanted in Vim! The first is Alloy Vim, it is a branch of the MacVim code for Mac only that adds a file drawer. It doesn’t really add a lot of functionality other than a native GUI file drawer. You can manipulate and navigate it all with a keyboard too; truly in the spirit of vim, but looking native to OSX.
The second gem I found has been PeepOpen from the folks over at PeepCode.com. This basically adds ST2’s fuzzy-finder to a handful of mac editors, including Vim. PeepOpen is an OS X native GUI app, that acts as a standalone fuzzy finder with a tiny plugin for editors so it can communicate/manipulate with the editor. Regardless of what it is, it just works, no setup or mess, my description may be awkward, but trust me with it worked out of the box with Alloy MacVim. It does cost about $10, but is well worth it. Unfortunately they don’t have a trail version.
If you are a Vim lover, and are on OS X, I highly suggest these tools. Now my question to you is: How can I get this setup to work on Windows or Linux? I use Windows and Vim at work, and am often working on a Linux box as well, so I would love to find similar functionality with Vim on these platforms as well. So the question(s) is: Is there a GVim for windows with a file tree drawer? Is there a Windows equivalent of PeepOpen with a plugin for Vim? Either they don’t exist or Google has failed me.Please drop me a line if you know of such a thing.