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Never Type the Same Path Twice

This is a follow-up of my previous post on Vim and cwd, so I suggest you go read it first.

If you’ve read the previous post carefully, you may have noticed that the ultimate goal of all the shortcuts I’ve described (<leader>cd), (<leader>ew) or the way I care about the working directory of each vim tab, always boils done to one thing: do not type the same path twice

Here are a few more tricks I use on top of the other vim settings I’ve previously described.

vim --remote #

This is useful when you have two terminals open.

Here’s an example:

vim remote example

In this case, the working directory on the left is correct, but the vim instance running on the right was started from $HOME

Let’s assume you want to edit ~/src/dmerej/blog/content/post/

You don’t want to type ~/src/dmerej/blog/content/post/ again.

A solution is to use vim --remote from the terminal on the left.

This only works if the first vim instance was started using the --servername option

Neovim #

Neovim folks removed the --remote and --servername options.

The idea is that you should use the new RPC interface instead.

You can use a nvr or your own solution.

Personally, I have something like this:

# in


def remote_nvim(filename):
    nvim = neovim.attach("socket", path=SOCKET_PATH)
    nvim.command(":e %s" % filename)

def main_nvim():
    env = os.environ.copy()
    rc =["nvim"], env=env)

def main():
    if "--remote" in sys.argv:

In a nutshell:

  • If is called without a --remote argument, I make sure Neovim is always listening to the same socket (/tmp/neovim)

  • Otherwise I use the neovim Python client API to attach to a running Neovim instance and open the file there.

(More about later …)

Open recent files #

I use the Ctrl-P plugin.

It has a “Most Recent Used” mode that I find very convenient.

This means that most of the time, I start vim from anywhere, then run <leader>p (which is bound to CtrlPMRUFiles), and only then do I set the working directory. (with <leader>cd, remember?)

Changing directory after Vim exits #

Often, when I’m done editing, I want to run some git commands. (Typically, git push)

So I use this trick to change the working directory of the calling terminal.

First, I use an auto command to write the working dir in an hard-coded file (/tmp/nvim-cwd)

" Write cwd when leaving
function! WriteCWD()
  call writefile([getcwd()], "/tmp/nvim-cwd")

autocmd VimLeave * silent call WriteCWD()

Then I define a zsh function to call the script and change the working directory accordingly:

# Change working dir when Vim exits
function vim() { $*
  cd $(cat /tmp/nvim-cwd)

z: or the cd that learns #

But sometimes I first want to change working directory before running vim. (Typically, to run git pull)

To do so I use z.

This tool installs a zsh hook and store every working directory in a “database”.

Then you can just type a small part of the directory you want to go to, and it will use a “frecency” algorithm to get you there.

See the README for more information.

Opening files from error messages #

Often, in error messages you get something like:

/path/to/foo.cpp:42: 'spam' was not declared in this scope

There’s the filename, followed by a colon (:), followed by a line number.

Of course, you want to open the file in vim to fix it.

You can try to carefully select only the filename without the :42 part, or after having copy/pasted the full word, removing the extra characters using backspace.

And then you remember 42 and type 42G (or :42) to go to the correct line.

Personally, I do this in the script:

It tries to see if there are column in filenames, and then starts vim with the correct + option:

def parse_filespecs_for_cmdline(filespec):
    if ":" in filespec:
        parts = filespec.split(":")
        line = parts[1]
        filename = parts[0]
        return ["+%s" % line, filename]

Or, when used with the --remote option, opens a new tab and the move the cursor to the correct location:

def parse_filespecs_for_remote(filespecs):
    res = list()
    for filespec in filespecs:
        parts = filespec.split(":")
        parts += ["1"] * (3 - len(parts))
        parts[0] = os.path.abspath(parts[0])
        for i in (1, 2):
                parts[i] = int(parts[i])
            except ValueError:
                sys.exit("Failed to parse %s" % filespec)
    return res

def remote_nvim(filespecs):
    nvim = neovim.attach("socket", path=SOCKET_PATH)
    to_open = parse_filespecs_for_remote(filespecs)
    for fullpath, line, column in to_open:
        nvim.command(":e %s" % fullpath)
        nvim.feedkeys("%iG" % line)
        nvim.feedkeys("%i|" % column)

Conclusion #

That’s all folks :) Hope you liked it.

You can see the vim_wrapper script in my dotfiles repo on github

Thanks for reading this far :)

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