Amp is inspired by Vim's modal approach to text editing, which is reflected in several of its default key bindings. That similarity aside, there are several key differences.

Above all else, Amp aims to keep things as simple as possible. There are already plenty of highly-configurable editors available. At its core, Amp aims to minimize configuration and provide a great out-of-the-box experience. The following sections describe some of the ideas central to the design of Amp that differentiate it from other options.


Like Vim, Amp is a modal editor: keystrokes perform different functions based on the current mode. Many familiar modes (insert, normal, select, etc.) are available, as well as several new ones providing additional functionality.

Essential Features

Amp's primary audience is developers.

Syntax highlighting, a fuzzy file finder, local symbol jump, and basic Git integration are available without additional configuration or external dependencies (e.g. plug-ins, ctags, external indexing binaries).


Amp shouldn't require any initial configuration. User preferences live in a single YAML file and have sensible defaults. There's also a built-in command to easily edit this file without having to leave the application.


Although still in its infancy, Amp is suitable for day-to-day use, with a few exceptions. There are features not yet in place; some are planned, others are not.


Amp only supports UTF-8 (and by proxy, ASCII). Supporting other encoding types is not planned. Windows line endings (CRLF) are also currently unsupported.

Split Panes

Unlike Vim, Amp doesn't provide split panes, and support isn't planned. It's recommended to use tmux instead, which provides this (and much more) for your shell, text editor, and any other terminal-based applications you may use.


Many editors allow users to extend and change much of their behaviour through the use of plug-ins. This is not a goal for Amp. However, in spite of its focus on being "complete" from the start, an avenue for extended language, framework, and workflow support is necessary. Features like "go to definition" require non-trivial language support, and are great candidates for plug-ins.

As a result, Amp will eventually include a runtime and plug-in API, providing the ability to define new commands.