February 20, 2012

Vimscript is Super Awesome

OK, sure it could be a little prettier, and yeah, it make simple things awkward. But it has one killer feature that I think is often overlooked. Vimscript uses the same commands that you use when editing a file.

This is actually really cool. Basically if you can do something while using the editor you can do it in a script. Think about that, you can really automate everything you already do, and since you already do it–you know how to automate it. The inverse is true as well, if you read it in a script you can do that while editing.

A quick example. Strip trailing white space. I’ve done this often, open a file with a ton of garbage whitespace, and want to strip it out. Open google and search for “vim remove trailing whitespace” and use some regular expression in a search and replace command. But this can be automated easily.

Instead of having to remember this command:

:%s/\s\+$//e

I make a command that will do it:

command Trim %s/\s\+$//e

Now I just have to remember the command, and Trim is much easier for me to remember.

Or get make a function that I can call from other vim script:

function! Trim()
    %s/\s\+$//e
endfunction

It just keeps building on the same commands. And really, what could go wrong?

If you want to learn more, I highly recomend Steve Losh’s Learn Vimscript the Hard Way. I also have a more robust version of the trim command.

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