Vim the editor is one of the most famous text editors in the hacker programming universe. It has a plenty of extensible (script-based) capabilities and very comfortable shortcuts that makes the programmer the fastest gun of the old west. (I can imagine Vim in front of Emacs on a desert city, Vim's shot is much faster!). In this page you'll learn some tips to better adapt Vim for GNU Octave programming.
If you aren't familiar with Vim script language, you can also use Python to write Vim plugins. If you do some for GNU Octave, please let us know.
Vim as the default editor
To set Vim as the default editor launched by the GNU Octave edit command, add the following line to your ~/.octaverc file:
edit mode async
and one of the following:
edit editor "<terminal> -e 'vim %s'"
edit editor "gvim %s"
To use Vim as default editor without starting a separate window, add the following lines to your ~/.octaverc file:
edit mode sync edit home . edit editor 'vim > /dev/tty 2>&1 < /dev/tty %s'
In version 3.8.0, editor option for edit is gone. In stead use the following:
edit mode sync edit home . EDITOR('vim > /dev/tty 2>&1 < /dev/tty %s')
A better GNU Octave syntax file
As for now, Vim hasn't a dedicated, officially distributed filetype for GNU Octave. The community agreed the best solution is to use octave.vim by Rik. All the instructions for installing it can be found on the hyperlink.
Accessing GNU Octave info
GNU Octave info package can be found in almost all Linux distributions. For installing it under Ubuntu, you can type:
$ sudo apt-get install octave<version>-info
where <version> must be substituted by the appropriate string. Add the following line to your ~/.vimrc file:
autocmd FileType matlab setlocal keywordprg=info\ octave\ --vi-keys\ --index-search
Now, when editing a *.m file, you can type in normal mode and the word under the cursor will be searched for in the GNU Octave documentation index. Pressing yields the next occurrence.
Unfortunately info does not work in dumb terminals. As gVim has only dumb terminal, a workaround must be done to access info. First select a terminal emulator, preferably fast loading one, as xterm, and install it. For installing it under Ubuntu, you can type:
$ sudo apt-get install xterm
Add the following line to your ~/.vimrc file:
autocmd FileType octave setlocal keywordprg=xterm\ -e\ info\ octave\ --vi-keys\ --index-search
Now you can typein normal mode and a new terminal window will opened and the word under the cursor will be searched for in the GNU Octave documentation index. You can set bigger font and specific window geometry of xterm by following line:
autocmd FileType octave setlocal keywordprg=xterm\ -fa\ 'DejaVu\ Sans\ Mono:style=Book'\ -fs\ 12\ -geometry\ 80x50\ -e\ info\ octave\ --vi-keys\ --index-search
OBS: If using the Rik's octave.vim syntax, replace matlab by octave.
Jumping between control statements
GNU Octave has a richer set of closing tags (endif,endfor,...) but for compatibility with MATLAB most users avoid them. This sometimes makes the code hard to follow and one possible workaround is to enable the matchit.vim plugin for jump between matching control statements. Although the plugin is distributed with Vim, it's disabled by default (see :help matchit-install). To enable it, add the following lines to your ~/.vimrc file:
set nocompatible filetype plugin on runtime macros/matchit.vim
Now that's enabled, one needs to specify the matching pairs for the GNU Octave language. The less broken solution i've found by Jake Wasserman:
let s:conditionalEnd = '\(([^()]*\)\@!\<end\>\([^()]*)\)\@!' autocmd FileType octave let b:match_words = '\<if\>\|\<while\>\|\<for\>\|\<switch\>:' . \ s:conditionalEnd . ',\<if\>:\<elseif\>:\<else\>:' . s:conditionalEnd
It allows to jump (quasi-)correctly even in the presence of array indexing with end. Place the cursor on an if keyword for example and press , it'll move to the corresponding elseif, else, end keywords.
Any improvements on the b:match_words variable are welcome.