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bash / vim workflow

Terminal - bash / vim workflow
vim -
2009-11-10 22:25:36
User: tmsh
Functions: vim
bash / vim workflow

I don't know if you've used sqsh before. But it has a handy feature that allows you to switch into vim to complete editing of whatever complicated SQL statement you are trying to run.

But I got to thinking -- why doesn't bash have that? Well, it does. It's called '|'!


Seriously, I'm pretty sure this flow of commands will revolutionize how I administer files. And b/c everything is a file on *nx based distros, well, it's handy.

First, if your ls is aliased to ls --color=auto, then create another alias in your .bashrc:

alias lsp='ls --color=none'

Now, let's say you want to rename all files that begin with the prefix 'ras' to files that begin with a 'raster' prefix.

You could do it with some bash substitution. But who remembers that? I remember vim macros because I can remember to press 'qa' and how to move around in vim. Plus, it's more incremental. You can check things along the way. That is the secret to development and probably the universe. So type something like:

lsp | grep ras

Are those all the files you need to move? If not, modify and re-grep. If so, pipe it to vim.

lsp | grep ras | vim -

Now run your vim macros to modify the first line. Assuming you use 'w' and 'b' to move around, etc., it should work for all lines. Hold down '@@', etc., until your list of files has been modified from






mv ras_a.h raster_a.h

mv ras_a.cpp raster_a.cpp

mv ras_b.h raster_b.h

mv ras_b.h raster_b.cpp

then run :%!bash

then run :q!

then be like, whaaaaa? as you realize your workflow got a little more continuous. maybe. YMMV.


There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
zsh$ M-v
2009-11-10 23:02:56
User: bucciarati

355 # from zsh-users

356 edit_command_line () {

357 # edit current line in $EDITOR

358 local tmpfile=${TMPPREFIX:-/tmp/zsh}ecl$$


360 print -R - "$PREBUFFER$BUFFER" >$tmpfile

361 exec

362 ${VISUAL:-${EDITOR:-vi}} $tmpfile

363 zle kill-buffer

364 BUFFER=${"$(



367 command rm -f $tmpfile

368 zle redisplay

369 }

370 zle -N edit_command_line

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

Interesting. That's definitely thinking outside the box. However, an easier way would be:

rename 's/^ras/raster/g' *

Comment by din7 401 weeks and 6 days ago

good point.

Comment by tmsh 401 weeks and 6 days ago

Dude, this is ridiculous. Just set EDITOR to vim and hit "Ctrl-x Ctrl-e" when you're editing on the command line. See the bash manpage and search for edit-and-execute-command or EDITOR.

Comment by TeacherTiger 401 weeks and 6 days ago

Not to mention the fact that if you need to rename a bunch of files at once using a regex, just use the "rename" command.

Comment by TeacherTiger 401 weeks and 6 days ago

Well, every revolutionary idea looks like madness at first!

I like bash. I love vim.

I shall give it a try...

Comment by flatcap 401 weeks and 6 days ago

ah, i like this edit-and-execute-command -- was what i was looking for. thanks. unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work with 'set -o vi'. so, if i insist on keeping 'vi mode' in bash, alternatives are to patch bash or use zsh (unless i'm missing something). i like the flexibility of the zsh solution, but don't know if zsh will always be available. (nor, of course, a patched version of bash.) not the end of the world, but maybe a concern.

so yeah, although it's slightly more verbose, i think i'm going to stick with piping to 'vim -' and then %!bash for now.

also, thanks flatcap! the idea of course is that vim macros are adaptive (as would be emacs macros). if you, say, want to do something with recursive substitution that won't work with a simple line of regex, vim macros could still work. plus, you can hack away at the first line macro until it's just right, etc.

anyhoo. just thoughts off the top of my head.

Comment by tmsh 401 weeks and 6 days ago

Ctrl-x Ctrl-e is the emacs keybinding for edit-and-execute-command. That command is not bound by default in vi mode, so you need to explicitly bind it (using "bind -m vi-insert" for example). I personally had to explicitly bind a bunch of emacs keybindings that I liked for vi mode (such as Ctrl-a, Ctrl-e, Ctrl-p, Ctrl-n, ...).

Comment by TeacherTiger 401 weeks and 6 days ago

thanks. alt-v seems to work too.

Comment by tmsh 401 weeks and 5 days ago

I have occasionally done something similar to this, for sequentially renaming files as zero-padded numbered files, ordered according to their creation date. However, what I used was something like:


:cd /my/dir

:%!ls -t *jpg

and then, I use dr. chip's sequential numbering system and executed the result. Worked pretty nicely and quickly with recording to a register and playing back the string of commands in vim. Your way is pretty slick, though.

Comment by morpheus 386 weeks and 2 days ago

Your point of view

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