I always get stuck inside of the parenthesis and find myself pressing ESC, going back to Normal mode, then pressing A to append the colon to the end of the line. Is there a faster way?
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Yes there is. Yesterday I gave this answer on the mother site: SO.
Bracketing plugins usually provide the right mapping to jump over the closing bracket character that is just after the cursor, and moreover what these plugins provide can be redone -- unlike the usual 90's mapping-snippets that many copy and share around.
Snippet engines usually provide a placeholder to jump to the next line (in Python-
def case) once the function name as been typed.
Some snippet plugins and bracketing plugins offer a common generic mapping that permits to jump to the next unresolved placeholder -- this is at least the case of my plugins, I'm not sure about the others.