Daniel Irvine on building software
The importance of katas
28 June 2014
Yesterday I recorded my first kata. I was pretty skeptical about the benefit of doing such a simple exercise over and over, but it turns out that there’s a whole bunch of benefits.
Most importantly, it’s been a great way to get over a Vim plateau. Previously I’d been happy with knowing a couple dozen shortcuts that I used regularly. I was satisfied with that because I was still working much faster than I would be with any other IDE. But by doing the kata I was able to stop and think about each and every keystroke I was using, and eventually replace dud key motions with shorter commands.
For example, using
=3k to reformat the previous three lines rather than using
Ctrl+V k k k Shift+I <space> <space> Esc. Or using
:.,+2s/2/coin/g to search and replace all occurrences in a block rather than using a combination of
h j k l ..
I’ll be recording a lot more of these and I’d encourage you to do the same. There’s a good list of katas on CodingDojo.org that will help you get started.