I am a regular Vim user, but I've also played around with full blown IDEs like Qt Creator and MS Visual Studio. One interesting aspect about IDEs is the ability to easily navigate through a function implementation based on its usage on a piece of code. Taking the example from my CMake post, suppose you use the function sayHello() defined in a included header of your current source file and its implementation resides in another file as well. You may want to check out its implementation, but you doesn't actually require to open a new view or loading it on the current view without an easy way to get back to the previous code. For this, Vim works very well with ctags. Let us check out how to generate ctags for your code and use it to let Vim know where to look up for your code.

First of all, we are assuming you already have Vim installed on your system, so now we must also have the exuberant-tags package as well:

$ sudo apt-get install exuberant-ctags

Now that you have ctags package installed, you can start generating ctags among your commonly used source code projects. You can generate a ctags file manually by issuing the following command (preferably inside your project's base directory):

$ ctags -R --sort=yes .

It is wise to keep an up-to-date ctags file for your most used source code projects, and then tell Vim to load them everytime you open a file. For this, you can add the following line to your ~/.vimrc file:

set tags += ~/.vim/tags/cpp " (standard C++ library)

NOTE: You can also create a macro that automagically creates a ctags file on the directory where your currently open file on Vim is located. For this, you can also add this line of code inside ~/.vimrc:

map <C-F12> :!ctags -R --sort=yes .<CR>

Now every time you press Ctrl+F12 inside Vim, the ctags file is either created or updated if already exists.

Now you are able to navigate through your code implementation. Try putting your cursor on a given function call, then press Ctrl+] to go to its implementation, and Ctrl+t to get back to where it has been called. You can also manually navigate to a function implementation by requesting from Vim:

:ta <function_name>

Next topic on this subject will be about using a Vim plugin called OmniCppComplete to enable auto complete feature for your code. Thanks for reading!