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Tiling window management that sucks less. Inpired by wmii and i3.
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Tiling window management that sucks less — see
Inspired by wmii† / dwm / i3 / awesome.


The idea behind this plugin is to make it easy to organize Vim windows in columns, like a tiling window manager would do. Three tiling modes are supported:

  • divided (default): in each column, all windows share the available vertical space;
  • stacked: in each column, the active window is maximized vertically and all other windows are collapsed (height = one row);
  • fullscreen: the active window is maximized (max height & width), all other windows are collapsed horizontally and vertically.

For the window management, all shortcuts use the Alt (Meta) key by default:

      Alt+[sdf]  ⇒ tiling mode selection: [s]tacked, [d]ivided, [f]ullscreen
      Alt+[hjkl] ⇒ select adjacent window
Shift+Alt+[hjkl] ⇒ move current window
 Ctrl+Alt+[hjkl] ⇒ resize current window
      Alt+[oO]   ⇒ create new window (horizontal/vertical split)
      Alt+w      ⇒ close window

Tabs are used as “views” and are controlled with the <Leader> key by default:

  <Leader>[123456789] ⇒ select tab [1..9]
 <Leader>t[123456789] ⇒ move current window to tab [1..9]
 <Leader>T[123456789] ⇒ copy current window to tab [1..9]

Keyboard Mappings

The default keyboard mappings can be customized with a global variable:

let g:suckless_mappings = {
\        '<M-[sdf]>'      :   'SetTilingMode("[sdf]")'    ,
\        '<M-[hjkl]>'     :    'SelectWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\        '<M-[HJKL]>'     :      'MoveWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\      '<C-M-[hjkl]>'     :    'ResizeWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\        '<M-[oO]>'       :    'CreateWindow("[sv]")'     ,
\        '<M-w>'          :     'CloseWindow()'           ,
\   '<Leader>[123456789]' :       'SelectTab([123456789])',
\  '<Leader>t[123456789]' : 'MoveWindowToTab([123456789])',
\  '<Leader>T[123456789]' : 'CopyWindowToTab([123456789])',

If you want to match i3’s mapping, I’d recommend modifying your i3 configuration to use hjkl in i3 — but you could also tweak your Vim mappings to match i3’s default mappings (which use jkl; instead of hjkl) and use Alt instead of <Leader> for tab-related commands:

let g:suckless_mappings = {
\        '<M-[sdf]>'      :   'SetTilingMode("[sdf]")'    ,
\        '<M-[jkl;]>'     :    'SelectWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\        '<M-[JKL:]>'     :      'MoveWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\      '<C-M-[jkl;]>'     :    'ResizeWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\        '<M-[oO]>'       :    'CreateWindow("[sv]")'     ,
\        '<M-w>'          :     'CloseWindow()'           ,
\        '<M-[123456789]>':       'SelectTab([123456789])',
\        '<M-[!@#$%^&*(]>': 'MoveWindowToTab([123456789])',
\      '<C-M-[123456789]>': 'CopyWindowToTab([123456789])',

If the Alt key is not a good option for you, you can do the following to use the <Leader> key instead:

let g:suckless_mappings = {
\   '<Leader>[sdf]'       :   'SetTilingMode("[sdf]")'    ,
\   '<Leader>[hjkl]'      :    'SelectWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\   '<Leader>[HJKL]'      :      'MoveWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\'<Leader><C-[hjkl]>'     :    'ResizeWindow("[hjkl]")'   ,
\   '<Leader>[oO]'        :    'CreateWindow("[sv]")'     ,
\   '<Leader>w'           :     'CloseWindow()'           ,
\   '<Leader>[123456789]' :       'SelectTab([123456789])',
\  '<Leader>t[123456789]' : 'MoveWindowToTab([123456789])',
\  '<Leader>T[123456789]' : 'CopyWindowToTab([123456789])',
let mapleader = "\<Space>"  " best Leader key ever </my2¢>

Meta/Alt Caveats

By default, this plugin relies on the Alt key. This works fine with Neovim but unfortunately, there are some caveats with Vim:

  • either Vim modifies the 8th bit of the current character, i.e. Altj outputs an ê — that’s what gVim does;
  • or an Esc is sent along with the key, i.e. Altj becomes Escj — that’s what happens with most terminal emulators.

suckless.vim should handle this properly, but in case your Alt shortcuts are not detected you can define the g:MetaSendsEscape variable explicitly:

let g:MetaSendsEscape = 0  " use this if Alt-j outputs an 'ê' on your terminal Vim
let g:MetaSendsEscape = 1  " use this if Alt shortcuts don't work on gVim / MacVim

On MacOSX, the Alt key might not be enabled in your terminal by default. On MacVim, you’ll have to set the macmeta pref to enable Option keys as "Meta" (MacVim ≥ 7.3 required); and if you want to keep one Option key, this patch can help.


Terminal Windows

All Alt-* shortcuts can be used on terminal windows in insert mode if the following is set:

let g:suckless_tmap = 1

Requires Neovim or Vim 8 with :terminal support.

New Splits

To be more consistent with most tiling window managers (wmii, i3, awesome…) these settings are recommended:

set splitbelow
set splitright

Tab Line & Label

This plugin modifies the tab labels to show:

  • the tab number between brackets, with a * sign if a buffer in this tab is modified;
  • the current buffer name, with a trailing + sign if modified.

To leave tabs unchanged (in the terminal and in the GUI, respectively), use:

let g:suckless_tabline = 0
let g:suckless_guitablabel = 0

Window Resizing

let g:suckless_min_width = 24      " minimum window width
let g:suckless_inc_width = 4       " width increment
let g:suckless_inc_height = 2      " height increment

Wrap-Around Modes

let g:suckless_wrap_around_jk = 1  " wrap in current column (wmii-like)
let g:suckless_wrap_around_hl = 1  " wrap in current tab    (wmii-like)

Related Plugin

TermOpen can be used to spawn terminals and TUI apps within Vim / Neovim like you would do in a tiling WM desktop. This can turn Neovim-Qt into a good substitute for i3 / awesome users when working on non-Linux systems.

FWIW, this is how I emulate my i3 configuration in Neovim:

Plug 'fabi1cazenave/suckless.vim'  " vim-plug FTW
Plug 'fabi1cazenave/termopen.vim'
set splitbelow
set splitright
let g:suckless_tmap = 1
nmap <silent> <M-Return>    :call TermOpen()<CR>
nmap <silent> <M-Backspace> :call TermOpenRanger()<CR>

Note that mapping AltReturn and AltBackspace can be tricky with Vim, and even trickier with gVim. No problem with Neovim though.

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