Category Archives: vim

View man Pages Properly in gVim

Vim’s ability to display man pages easily using the K mapping often comes handy. It been bothering me for a while, that the same thing doesn’t work properly in gVim, which I use more. The reason is that Vim’s ability to display man pages depends on having a terminal emulator, which just isn’t true for gVim, hence the garbled display of man pages one sees if he tries viewing a man page in gVim.

Today, I found a way around this limitation. It turns out, Vim comes with support for displaying man pages in a split window, and does it perfectly – colors, links and all the necessary stuff. The first line, enables this feature which includes by default the K mapping to open the man page in a new split. The second part, which I find very convenient, makes the regular K do the same in gVim. And unlike the original mapping, it also accepts a count before, so pressing 3K will search the 3 man section of the keyword under the cursor.

" Properly display man pages
" ==========================
runtime ftplugin/man.vim
if has("gui_running")
	nnoremap K :<C-U>exe "Man" v:count "<C-R><C-W>"<CR>
endif

Highlight Whitespace at End-of-Line in Vim

Usually trailing whitespace is undesirable. Using vim’s :match command you can easily highlight those trailing whitespace:

:match Error /\s\+$/

This can be combined with autocmd and inserted to ~/.vimrc to highlight trailing whitespace only for certain files:

autocmd Filetype python match Error /\s\+$/

Quickly Exiting Insert-Mode in Vim

Changing from insert mode to normal mode is usually quick. The other direction is more cumbersome. You either have to reach out for the escape key, or use the Ctrl-[ (which I never got used to).

After seeing a blog post suggesting to map jk to exit insert mode, I was inspired to create my own mapping. I chose kj because it’s faster to type, as typing inwards is faster than outwards (you can check for yourself by tapping with your fingers on your desk). To use it, add the following to your .vimrc:

:inoremap kj <ESC>

Now, whenever you are in insert mode, quickly typing kj will exit insert mode. It will introduce a short pause after typing k, but this is only a visual one, so it doesn’t actually slow you down. kj is one of the rarest bigrams in English, so you’ll almost never have to actually type it inside a text, but if you do, just wait a bit after typing k to type the j.

After writing this post, I’ve came across a Vim Wiki page listing all kinds of ways to avoid the escape key.

I’ve recently published my vimrc, take a look it might give you ideas for other neat tricks.

Vim: Creating .clang_complete using CMake

The clang_complete plugin for Vim, offers superior code completion. If your project is anything but trivial, it will only do so if you provide .clang_compelete file with the right compilation argument. The easy way to do so is by using the cc_args.py script that comes with it to record the options directly into the .clang_compelete file. Usually one does

make CXX='~/.vim/bin/cc_args.py clang++'

However, the makefile generated by CMake doesn’t support the CXX configuration.

The solution is to call CMake with the CXX environment variable set:

CXX="$HOME/.vim/bin/cc_args.py clang++" cmake ..
make

Note that this will create the clang_complete file in the build directory (I’ve assumed out-of-place build), so just copy over the file to the working dir of your vim so it can find it. You’ll need to re-run cmake again (without the CXX, to disable re-creating the .clang_complete file each time.

While looking for this solution, I’ve first tried solving it by setting the CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER variable in CMake, however for some strange reason it didn’t like it, saying that the compiler wasn’t found (it shuns command line arguments given in the compiler command).

The more I use clang_compelete the more awesome I find it. It has it quirks but nonetheless it’s much simpler and better than manually creating tag files for each library.

Updated 6/1/2014: When setting CXX use $HOME instead of ~ (fix issues with newer versions of CMake).

Bye Bye OmniCppComplete, Hello Clang Complete

For years OmniCppComplete has been the de facto standard for C++ completion in Vim. But as time progressed, I got more and more annoyed by it’s shortcomings. OmniCppComplete is based on tokenizing provided by ctags. The ctags parsing of C++ code is problematic, you can’t even run it on libstdc++ headers (you need to download modified headers). You want to use an external library? You’ll need to run ctags seperatly on each library. Not to mention it’s inablity to deduce types of anything more than trivial. The core of the problem is that OmniCppComplete isn’t a compiler and you can’t expect something that isn’t a compiler to fully understand code. This what makes Visual Studio’s IntelliSense so great: it uses the Visual C++ compiler for parsing, it isn’t making wild guess at types and what is the current scope – it knows it.
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Vim Syntax Highlighting For Google Gadgets

I started developing Google Gadgets for LabPixies, so one of the first thing I looked for was syntax highlighting. Vim recognized the gadgets’ code as XML file (which is correct), but I wanted also HTML syntax highlighting for the HTML part. So after searching a bit for some existing solution, I found one, but I didn’t like as it required me to wrap the HTML code with a specific comment. As I don’t like this kind of solution, I’ve decided to create my own syntax highlighting file for Vim.
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Setting Up OmniComplete (Autocompletion) for wxWidgets in Vim

I use Vim as my main IDE for C/C++ related development (as well as for almost all other development). If you use (or thinking about using) vim as as an IDE, you better get some good autocompletion functionality. This kind of autocompletion is provided by the OmniComplete, which is available since Vim 7.0. Just having the OmniComplete is a nice thing, but it’s much more helpful if configured properly to work with the libraries you use, such as wxWidgets. In this post I will show you how to get working the OmniComplete for wxWidgets, however, the procedure I will show can be easily adapted to almost all libraries.
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Vim Macros for Wrapping Strings for Gettext

I’m working on a website and we decided to localize it using GNU gettext. Soon enough I found it tiring to wrap each string manually in _( and ) and also to do it in Smarty (using {t}string{/t}. So I decided that I need a macro that will let highlight the string that needs translation and the macro will wrap for me.

I ended up writing two macros one for PHP files (but it’s also good for C/C++ etc.) and one for smarty.

:vmap tg di_(<ESC>pa)<ESC>
:vmap ts di{t}<ESC>pa{/t}<ESC>

To use these macros just highlight the string for translation in vim’s visual mode and press tg (or ts), and your string will be wrapped for translation.