barbarian meets coding

WebDev, UX & a Pinch of Fantasy

Barbaric Tip of the Week: Improve Your Code Typing Skills With

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Barbaric Tip of the Week is a weekly series whose main purpose is to share tiny bits of knowledge that I find specially useful and interesting.

A couple of years ago I started using vim and I realized that my typing skills did not cut it – I did not practice touch typing but my own deformed version of typing born of using the computer from an early age mainly to play video games and chat on IRC.

I didn’t despair, not yet at least. I decided to switch keyboard layout, nothing drastic, just from a QWERTY Swedish keyboard layout to a US layout (noticing that it was much easier to type parens, semicolon and other programming keys). I also started learning proper touch typing with the typingweb – great web app for typing btw. For the next four weeks I practiced touch typing 2 hours before going to work and 2 hours before going to sleep. The first two days were horrible, I was writing like 10 WPM and thinking to myself all the time: “Come on Jaime! You can do better than this!”. It got better afterwards but that wasn’t the worst, after a couple of weeks I had sooo much pain in my wrists for the excessive typing (before, during and after work) that I couldn’t lift weights at the gym. For the next 6 months or so I wouldn’t do any curl exercise.

Today, almost two years after, I am pretty decent at touch typing and at vim-ming. I am still not as fast as I used to be but I can do 70-80 WPM relaxed when typing text. However, touch typing text is not the same as typing code. And that’s why is so awesome:

Imagine practicing typing code by using the source code of your favorite open source projects (or any other source code for that matter). Read and learn cool stuff from open source, and at the same time improve your typing skills with pesky characters such as ], }, ), *, =, etc. That’s what is all about. Cool right?

Typing some code

A lesson summary