Saturday, July 31, 2010


Vimium is a extension for Google Chrome that allows you to navigate web sites using nothing but your keyboard. It works fairly well, it is based on Vim. I am actually more of a emacs kind of guy (if anything) but I have had no real trouble with it.

I am still playing around with Vimium, but so far it works fairly well. As I play around with it more, I may choose to re-bind some actions to key-bindings that I find more intuitive.

Probably the coolest feature is the ability to click links using nothing more than your keyboard. Basically, when you press the (default bound to) 'f' key, one or more characters show up next to each link. If you type the character that matches the given link, it is as if you clicked said link. This is pretty neat, and I could see this alone as being one of those features that you would miss deeply once you get the hang of it. And yes, before you ask, to open a link in a new tab just type 'F' instead of 'f'.

My biggest problem is getting out of object that have focus. An example of this is the HTML text area within which I a typing this blog post. If keyboard input is writing characters to the screen, Vimium does not work. At this moment, with my character in the text area field, if I press 'f', it does not issue a Vimium command (defaults to showing a list of links): instead, it just types the letter f. Now obviously, I like being able to actually type. It would be pretty nice though if Vimium had some sort of "Vimium" key that allowed me to indicate to Vimium that I wish for the following things I type to be a Vimium command, and not to be interpreted as keyboard input. Either that or I could just switch from Vimium mode to regular keyboard mode.

Overall though, Vimium is a pretty neat piece of software. I like not having to take my hands off the keyboard, I think the link clicking mechanics are pretty darn neat, and I appreciate the fact that I can always re-bind the commands to things I find more intuitive if I so desire.

Cool tool.

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