Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 9th Mar 2012 19:11 UTC
General Development "I was reading about vim the other day and found out why it used hjkl keys as arrow keys. When Bill Joy created the vi text editor he used the ADM-3A terminal, which had the arrows on hjkl keys, so naturally he reused the same keys." As interesting as that is, John Graham-Cumming goes even further back in history. "The reason that keyboard had those arrows keys on it was because those keys correspond to CTRL-H, J, K, L and the CTRL key back then worked by killing bit 6 (and bit 5) of the characters being typed." Truly fascinating stuff, even though it's from way before my time (I'm from 1984).
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RE[2]: hjkl still ergonomic
by ctl_alt_del on Sat 10th Mar 2012 19:37 UTC in reply to "RE: hjkl still ergonomic"
ctl_alt_del
Member since:
2006-05-14

I believe that the non-printing control codes (C0 codes) have a history dating back to the 1870's. First with the Baudot Code (circa 1870), to the Murray Code (circa 1900), to ITA-2 (circa 1930), to ASCII and ANSI variants now used. These were established for use with teleprinters to replace telegraph/Morse Code type transmissions.

So I would have to agree that this h-j-k-l layout of CO codes was indeed a intentional design. A "teletype" kind of functionality built into early dumb terminals and coded into vi and inherited by vim.

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