10 - The values of Emacs, the Neovim revolution, and the VSCode gorilla

This article lays out a comprehensive framework for evaluating different developer tools and highlights the values of massively popular tools like Emacs, Vim, and VS Code.

ApproachabilityEase of getting started with for typical tasks, and contribution friendliness
Doing one thing wellUnix philosophy, fitting into an ecosystem
Editing efficiencyFewer interactions, mnemonics, composable keystrokes, etc.
ExtensibilityThe degree to which behavior and appearance can be changed
FreedomEmbraces free software, rejects proprietary software
IntegrationCohesive core and concerted third-party functionality
IntrospectabilityCapable of being understood and inspected ad-hoc
Keyboard centrismFocus on keyboard interactions
MaintainabilityThe degree to which it can be modified without introducing faults
ProgressivenessA measure of eagerness to make progress and leverage modern technology
StabilityThings that worked before continue to work the same way
Text centrismText as a universal interface
VelocityShort and focused release cycles, aligned personpower, leveraging the community effectively
  • Source 1

For the aforementioned tools, the author makes the following judgements 1

  • Top Emacs Values: Extensibility, Freedom, and Introspectability
  • Top Vim Values: Doing one thing well, Editing efficiency, Keyboard centrism
  • Top NeoVim Values: Approachability, Editing efficiency, Extensibility
  • Top VS Code Values: Approachability, Integration, Maintainability

I find this to be a useful way of thinking about the larger context behind the tools that I use. For Dendron, our current values are:

  • Velocity
  • Extensibility
  • Text centrism

Areas where we are actively investing in:

  • Approachability
  • Maintainability
  • Integration


  1. Murilo, The values of Emacs, the Neovim revolution, and the VSCode gorilla, accessed 2021.12.07, https://www.murilopereira.com/the-values-of-emacs-the-neovim-revolution-and-the-vscode-gorilla/Λ„