Abbreviations (use iab for abbreviations that work only in insert mode or ab for abbreviations that work in any mode) and mappings (use imap for mappings that work in insert mode, or map for mappings that work in multiple modes) are very similar...
June 29, 2009
Speed-Typing in Vim With Maps and Abbreviations
Article Source LinuxPlanet
Vim is still one of the most powerful text editors out there. One of its more useful features is that it allows you to set up your own abbreviations and mappings. These can speed up the typing of stock phrases or do far more complicated things. Enter these in command mode to try them out, or add them to your ~/.vimrc (without the initial colon) if you want them to stay.