I really like the Emacs editor for Python because of it's smart tabbing for instance if I have something like this
def foo(): if bar: blah [b]eep
and I press tab on the cursor (which is on the b of beep), it will not insert a new tab causing a syntax error but it would toggle through the possible levels that beep can be on. Is there anyway of getting this effect on Vim?
In general, vim is a very powerful regular language editor (macros extend this but we'll ignore that for now). This is because vim's a thin layer on top of ed, and ed isn't much more than a line editor that speaks regex. Emacs has the advantage of being built on top of ELisp; lending it the ability to easily parse complex grammars and perform indentation tricks like the one you shared above.
To be honest, I've never been able to dive into the depths of emacs because it is simply delightful meditating within my vim cave. With that said, let's jump in.
For beginners, I highly recommend installing the readymade Janus plugin (fwiw, the name hails from a Star Trek episode featuring Janus Vim). If you want a quick shortcut to a vim IDE it's your best bang for your buck.
I've never used it much, but I've seen others use it happily and my current setup is borrowed heavily from an old Janus build.
Otherwise, do some exploring on your own! I'd highly recommend installing vim pathogen if you want to see the universe of vim plugins.
It's a package manager of sorts. Once you install it, you can
git clone packages to your
~/.vim/bundle directory and they're auto-installed. No more plugin installation, maintenance, or uninstall headaches!
You can run the following script from the GitHub page to install pathogen:
mkdir -p ~/.vim/autoload ~/.vim/bundle; \ curl -so ~/.vim/autoload/pathogen.vim \ https://raw.github.com/tpope/vim-pathogen/HEAD/autoload/pathogen.vim
Here are some links on extending vim I've found and enjoyed: