vi is completely text based. It does make use of many aspects of screen display available through telnet, so determining whether vi works correctly is a good check on whether your terminal setting are correct. vi uses the keyboard only (no mouse). It has a command mode in which the keys typed correspond to commands for moving the cursor, cut, paste, etc. and an insert mode where the keys typed are put into the document text.
There is enough good vi information on the web, that I saw no reason to write up my own directions. Below are some useful sources on the web describing the vi editor.
vi Lovers Home Page
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