Adept text editor users fly around and manipulate text as if by teleportation. For me, this is a principle I hold dear when considering my editing experience. Teleportation is chiefly driven by thought and is effortless by construction. This is actually not something inherent to teleportaiton. Instead of hopping in a car and driving around the neighbourhood to find where you want to go, you tend to make a decision about your destination ahead of time. However, driving expects a certain amount of effort to reach a destination whereas teleportation requires little effort if at all. Teleportation doesn't just mean jumping someplace but also transporting text somewhere, whether it be someplace else in a buffer or into textual purgatory.
Some call this "code golf" but using that term implies falling into the trap of constantly optimizing when the aim is to carve up the text in front of you. As such, optimizing for teleportation comes from finding ways to facilitate your thinking, rather than endless reduction for the sake of reduction.
As teleportation is driven by thought occasionally some
required. I recently gave an
example where I
and former colleagues would abuse vim's "paragraphs" to jump up and down between
chunks of text by leaving gaps of newlines between them and hitting
Shift-} respectively. I also use syntactical constructs to form
where chunks of text might go to die if they aren't ultimately used or I might
further abuse whitespace to do temporary debug
statements. As I
write this article my editor is cutting newlines at eighty characters to make
sculpting up sentences and paragraphs easier.
This brings us to an important point; teleportation is editor agnostic. All editor users alike, by experience and refinement, have been taught and taught their editors how to zip around as if they are lightning incarnate.
As such, we have, as a larger community, cultivated a melting pot of ideas that
continually enhance teleportation as a practice. Sublime, VSCode, and others
have popularized the idea of the fuzzy-find palette for discovering files, text
matches in a buffer, git commits for a project, and so on. Things like
plugins for it now make this accessible to editors that don't have built-in
support. I particularly love fuzzy-find because it favours an aspect of
teleportation I call course correction, so long as the "palette" in question
provides a collection of results. From the results we can change our mind about
the direction we want to head. We can even simply go to some other option
without having to delete and type different results so long as the option is
present (you can do this in
Next time you trudge your way across your editor by keyboard or mouse, think about how you could be teleporting, instead. Spend all those lost minutes on stuff you want to spend them on. This principle is flexible enough to support all sorts of optimisations and hopefully I've piqued your interest to explore building your own.