vi Books

I own published copies of both of the Lamb and the H-P books, and I find each of them excellent in its own way. The Lamb book is what I started with...well, actually, I started with the brief vi and ex command summaries in the 1990 printing of Unix in a Nutshell by O'Reilly & Associates and puzzled my way along until I got Lamb's book. I purchased the H-P book later, after I already knew enough to get through a work day using vi without looking at a manual, but that book has still been useful for its clear explanations.

Hewlett-Packard Company (1990), The Ultimate Guide to the vi and ex Text Editors (Redwood City, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co.).

11 Chapters, plus an appendix on regular expressions. This book takes a task-oriented approach to teaching the use of the vi and ex editors and includes many examples.

Lamb, Linda and Arnold Robbins (1998), Learning the vi Editor 6th ed. (Sebastapol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates), 348 pp.

Starts with a beginner's tutorial and works up to using ex, global replacement, and advanced editing techniques. The 6th edition now includes information on several vi-clones: nvi, elvis, vim, and vile.

Artymiak, Jacek (2008), vi(1) Tips - Essential vi/vim Editor Skills (Poland: Lublin), 101 pp.

A vi book that focuses on getting you up to speed quickly by avoiding confusing terminology. Includes plenty of illustrations and step by step instructions for file operations, cursor movement, and editing operations. A good place to start if you are learning vi/vim for the first time. See: (bad link?)
Also see:

Friedl, Jeffrey E.F. (2002), Mastering Regular Expressions (Sebastapol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates), 340+ pp.

This must be the most comprehensive tutorial and reference about regular expressions published to-date. It includes in-depth explanations of how regular expressions do their work and many descriptions of the various unix tools that incorporate regular expressions (such as vi). This book really gets to the method behind the madness of regular expressions and is an excellent reference.

Oualline, Steve (2001), Vi IMproved -- VIM (Indianapolis, IN: New Riders), 423+ pp.

I have a copy of this book, and I must say, I wish I'd had it several years back when I first started using VIM. The book starts with an extensive, but basic, introduction to editing with VIM, then proceeds to more advanced topics (such as regular expression searching, writing your own functions, and writing your own syntax highlighting files). Let's just say, any book that, within ten minutes, improves your productivity with a program like VIM is worth every penny. Highly recommended!

See also:

Schulz, Kim (2007), Hacking Vim: A cookbook to get the most out of the latest Vim editor (Birmingham, UK: Packt Publishing), 210 pp.

Provides tips, hints, setup ideas, scripts, functions, and ways of improving the Vim experience. There are many topics covered, from heavy-duty Vim use for programming to cosmetic aspects of Vim set up. Most Vim users will find something of use.

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