Hermes is opinionated where having an opinion is important, but does not prevent you from customizing your tools.
Hermes gives you a lot of things for free:
- Sensible defaults for developers.
- Integration of Vim into tmux and tmux into iTerm 2.
- Mouse and window integration, allowing selections within tmux and Vim panes, not across them.
- Vim packages that provide git integration, command- and block-completion, fuzzy file search and ease of testing.
We feel that good documentation is a key part of using any new technology with lots of moving parts, so we will be improving Hermes' documentation in the days and weeks to come.
Hermes combines plugins, settings, snippets, gists, and ideas from countless developers around the world. We would like to thank:
- The Vim team.
- The Tmux team.
- The GNU Bash team
- The Homebrew team.
- Tim Pope. Seriously, you're awesome.
- Thoughtbot for their dotfiles, essential in getting the Tmux configuration right.
- Vimcasts, for showing the world just how powerful Vim can be.
Warning! Hermes is still early in development, so just to be careful, we strongly encourage you to install it in a separate user account, not your main one. That said, we have tested it on our own user accounts, where it worked just fine.
You can check to see which files will be overwritten in
follow this link
to view it on Github.
Hermes relies on Homebrew and RVM to work properly. While Homebrew is a de facto standard developers using OS X, there are a good number of people that use RBenv, so support for that is in the pipeline. We are happy to look at any pull requests.
If these two tools are not available, the installer script will halt. Please refer to these tools' excellent documentation for installation instructions.
As the very first step, you should fork the Hermes on Github since this will make it easier for you to customize your installation. After you're done, you can run:
mkdir -p ~/.hermes git clone https://github.com/<your_github_username>/Hermes.git ~/.hermes cd ~/.hermes ./install.bash
This will perform the following actions:
- Check that you have all the needed Homebrew dependencies
- Back up any file or folder that would be overwritten by the installer process
- Install all dotfiles and plugins available in the
hermesdirectory and symlink them to the right locations in your home folder
You may also want to add Hermes's repository as an upstream repository, so you can pull in the changes done on the main trunk whenever you need to.
What's included in the installer
The installer will:
- check for dependencies
- backup any existing dotfile that would be overwritten in a timestamped tar file that you can use to restore your previous configuration
- install a number of required Homebrew packages
- create a
~/hermesdirectory and symlink its content to your home folder where every piece of software expects to find its main configuration file(s)
- configuration and plugins for Vim
- configuration for Tmux
- configuration for git
- configuration and additional functionality for two shells: Bash and Fish.
- settings for
In addition, Hermes glues all components together so they play nicely with each other and the OS. Two examples of this integration are are Hermes' support for the system clipboard in OS X and window/pane aware mouse integration.
Being a git-based project, you can update Hermes by simply pulling from the remote. If you forked the project, please remember to add the original repo as an upstream repository to make getting new project updates easier.
This document provides enough information to make you productive with Hermes, but it doesn't cover the totality of what's provided by all plugins, especially when it comes to Vim. Please refer to their original documentation for more details.
Hermes' goal is to provide a solid structure for you to build on top of without
having to deal with any intermediate configuration layers. For example, Vim's
entire configuration is managed canonically through the
~/.vimrc file and the
~/.vim folder. The only significant difference is that under the hood, those
files are actually symlinks to your
Knowing how Hermes ties everything together is useful when it comes time to configure it.
A stock vim installation with a basic configuration can go a long way and can be really beneficial when it comes to editing files on a server.
There is however a very simple problem with the default Vim installation that OS X provides: it cannot access the system clipboard. That means if you copy anything from outside the editor, it's not available in any of Vim's registers. Worse yet, if you copy anything in Vim using its internal commands, it won't be available to the rest of the system
To sort this out, Hermes installs Homebrew's version of Vim, which is available through the MacVim package:
brew install macvim --override-system-vim
This has some additional benefits, like having support for Ruby in plugins.
Let's now go with some defaults for a basic
set nocompatible "don't need Vi compatibility set nobackup "don't create backup files set nowritebackup set notimeout set ttimeout set ttimeoutlen=10 set noswapfile "don't create swap files set history=50 "keep a small history set ruler "always show position set showcmd set incsearch set laststatus=2 "full status bar set t_Co=256 "256 colors - requires a properly configured terminal emulator syntax on "turn syntax highlight on filetype plugin indent on "let plugins manage indentation " Send more characters for redraws set ttyfast " Enable mouse use in all modes set mouse=a set ttymouse=xterm2 " Fix backspace set backspace=indent,eol,start fixdel " Softtabs, 2 spaces set tabstop=2 set shiftwidth=2 set expandtab " Display extra whitespace at the end of the line set list listchars=tab:»·,trail:· " Clipboard fix for OsX set clipboard=unnamed " Numbers set number set numberwidth=2 "Folding set foldmethod=indent set foldlevelstart=99 " Autocompletion options set wildmode=list:longest,list:full set complete=.,w,b"
Plugins are a powerful way to extend Vim's capabilities. The implementation may change, but we feel you should be able to expect the following from a modern text editor:
- Support for fuzzy search inside a directory tree. You should be able to easily open a file by name without navigating the tree.
- Full text search inside a directory tree.
- Snippet support with expansion, tab stops and completion. Like Textmate.
- Integration with testing frameworks. You should be able to run tests without leaving the editor.
- Tabs and split windows. You should be able to see tests and the corresponding code at the same time and be able to easily switch from one to the other.
- Language specific features, like syntax-aware indentation and navigation.
Needless to say, a number of other text editors support these features. Vim, however, combines this with its extremely efficient modal editing approach.
Hermes provides a good number of plugins, aiming to strike a balance between
features and speed. You can see the complete list under
but here are some highlights:
- Ctrlp: a tool for fuzzy searching by file and tag.
- Snipmate: unashamedly borrowing from Textmate, Snipmate provides tab completion based on snippet files.
- The silver searcher:
agis a faster alternative to Ack.
- TComment: toggles comments in nearly any language.
- Rails.vim: provides shortcuts, generators and settings for working with Ruby on Rails projects. Absolutely killer.
- Vimux: forms a bridge with Tmux to send text and commands to a Tmux pane. Vimux is essential for Hermes' testing support.
However, we encourage you to be wary of plugins for several reasons:
- Vim has many conventional ways to accomplish certain tasks, and while it's possible to do things in many ways, it's important to try to understand the Vim way of doing things and play to its strengths.
- One of Vim's benefits is speed and low memory footprint, making it responsive even when opening huge files. Increasing Vim's footprint through excessive numbers of plugins can eliminate this benefit.
- Sometimes a plugin is not necessary. Similar or identical effects can often be achieved with smaller, well thought-out changes in your .vimrc.
- Although powerful, Vim is a text editor and should do just this one job well.
Vim's approach to plugin management is a little counterintuitive:
by default, Vim looks for additional scripts to load in
which has subfolders that determine when the configuration is
loaded. For example, a script can be split across the
autoload directories, the former for the bulk, load-once
functionality while the latter for anything that requires constant
recalculation. This means that a manual installation may be spread
across multiple directories, resulting in a structure that is
difficult to maintain and update.
Enter Pathogen, a package
manager that makes this process painless and that inverts the
usual installation pattern, as it lets you organize plugins based
on their name. With Pathogen, you can simply clone a repository into
~/.vim folder and you're done. This is the first stepping
stone to efficient dotfile management through a git repository
where you can add all your plugins as git submodules and update
all of them with a single command.
Hermes uses git submodules extensively: since Pathogen allows
us to keep each plugin in a separate folder, we can include all of
our plugins as submodules in the
hermes/vim/bundle folder. This
makes it dead easy to add other plugins and keep them up-to-date:
cd ~/.hermes git submodule add <github-url> hermes/vim/bundle/<plugin-name>
And you're done! Updating plugins is similarly straightforward:
cd ~/.hermes git submodule foreach git pull origin master
As in every other Github-based project, it's advisable
to fork a plugin if you need to make changes that go
beyond simple configuration (which we usually add to
~/.hermes/vim/plugins.vim). In that case, you would need to
remove the original submodule completely and add it back again
using your fork as the source.
Pathogen loads the contents of
~/.vim/bundle by default.
including itself. This is controlled by the first two lines in the
" loading pathogen at runtime as it's bundled runtime bundle/vim-pathogen/autoload/pathogen.vim call pathogen#infect()
If you keep extending your
.vimrc, it comes to a point where
it's simply too long, so it makes sense to split it into separate
chunks of related configuration. Here's an example from the bottom
source $HOME/.vim/autocommands.vim source $HOME/.vim/plugins.vim source $HOME/.vim/shortcuts.vim
gf in Vim's normal mode will open the file under
the cursor. This works with many other file types, including html documents.
We recommend that when working with new plugins, you add one at a
time and pay close attention to their documentation. Plugins
are often extremely configurable, as you can see in Hermes'
plugins.vim file. Taking the time to develop a feel for how each
plugin works and configuring them for your specific needs can go a
long way in optimising your workflow.
Documentation is usually available by typing
However, Hermes has a custom shortcut you can use: by pressing
with the cursor over a word, you can search for that word in Vim's help.
As an example, let's look at the configuration Hermes supplies for
wildignore flag is not Ctrl-p specific, as it's used by Vim
or many autocompletion and expansion functions: the more unlikely
targets we remove, the better Vim's performance will be. Since
Ctrl-p uses this pattern to determine a baseline for excluding
files when creating its index, this simple addition will help keep
Daily use cases
Here are a few examples of what you can do with Vim, bearing in mind that this is not meant to be an exhaustive guide. Instead, we will focus on frequent everyday tasks:
Having the shell at your disposal can speed up your workflow many times over, but to really take advantage of this it's important to learn how to alternate between Vim and the command line.
Sometimes you just need to run a simple shell command, like
creating a file or directory (i.e. folder). In that situation,
: in normal mode to enter the command mode. Then type
to tell Vim to shell out and perform the command in the shell. So,
if you want to create a
sample directory, you can type:
The command will be performed from within the current working
directory, you can verify that with
When you need to step out of the file you're editing, perform a
few tasks and then go back, your best option is to suspend Vim
using the shell via
ctrl-z and then resume it with by typing
fg (foreground) when you're done. This is a very
straightforward approach and widely used in the Unix world. It
works out of the box.
Alternatively, you can use a different window or pane with Tmux, as we shall explain later on.
As always, you can associate a shortcut for a shell command you want to run: a good example is creating a leader command to run the current file as a spec.
noremap <leader>s :!bundle exec rspec %<cr>
noremap to tell Vim to create a key map for normal mode,
assign it to
<leader>s and then specify the command, a simple
bundle exec rspec where we include the current file as an argument
and then press enter (carriage return).
Reading from a source into the current buffer
Another common use case is having to add content from a different source, like another file or a unix process.
Vim provides a very simple way to do this: the
If you have two files,
b.txt, you can open the first one and type:
:r b.txt. This will add the contents of the second file in the current buffer
(where you have opened
You can combine the
:r command with
! to shell out and get the contents from
any command you wish. For example, you can use
ls to list the contents of a
directory to easily generate a manifest file. The full command would then be
Search and replace
Search and replace in Vim is a kind of regular expression usage. Vim expects you to provide a range and then a substitution command to perform.
So if you type:
It will search in the whole buffer
% and substitute the first
bar. As you can imagine, you can pass
flags to the command, like:
g flag predictably tells Vim to perform a global search and
replace, with multiple replacements, while the
flag will allow you to confirm each substitution individually.
If you need to act on a specific number of lines, you have two options:
- You can pass a range of lines, like
- You can select a visual block, press
:followed by the substitution command (
s/foo/bar). Note that the command bar will be prepopulated with the expression indicating the currently selected visual range (
A common complaint by many people who switch from a graphical editor to Vim is that there's no facility to execute a substitution command across files. Vim provides such tools by following a simple pattern:
- Add all the files to the arguments list
- Perform a search and replace on each file contained in such list
This can be tricky: the argument list is the files of all
currently open files and can be completely different from the
buffer list. So if we wanted to perform a search and replace on
*.rb files in the current working directory we would do:
:args ./**.rb :argdo %s/foo/bar/gi
i flag, which is a lifesaver. The
iterates over the argument list and performs the sspecified
command (we still need the
% to act on the whole file).
(If you use Vim's tabs feature, see also
tabdo for a way of
doing operations across all your tabs.)
A different approach, and what we suggest, is not using Vim altogether but a shell based substitution.
First of all, you should make sure that you're working with some sort of VCS, because what we're about to do is not easily reversible.
We will be using Perl, as it's fast, powerful and simple.
The aforementioned substitution can be achieved with:
perl -i.bak -pe's/foo/bar/g' ./**.rb
A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: the above pattern is usually safe in the
context of a Rails application, but if the pattern you used finds
.git, it will perform the substitution on them as
well, potentially damaging your Git index. This can happen if your
glob pattern is too loose or if you have submodules written in the
-i.bak argument does create a backup of the
original file, so you'll need to delete the .bak files after the
substitution. If you really know what you're doing, you can just
-i by itself.
A safer approach, and one which makes also the search and replace command easier to manage, is to move into subfolders and perform it in different steps. This will also make it easier to check, test and manage.
You can access Vim's "visual" model by pressing
V (line selection). When in visual mode, any
movement will modify the selection. You can also click-drag a
screen selection with the mouse, which will automatically put you
in visual mode. Working in visual mode can be powerful, but in
general it's advisable not to use it too often, since the actions
you take in visual mode are not recorded in a way that can easily
be repeated, e.g.
. in normal mode.
There are, however, situations where visual mode has a clear advantage. One technique, making use of a "visual block", is great for doing the same thing to several lines at once.
Imagine this text in Vim:
a = 1 b = 2 c = 3
If we wanted to prepend the keyword
var to every line shown
above, we could to the following:
- With the cursor on
a, create a visual block by pressing
jjto move down two lines.
var(with a space at the end) and then press
Escto return to normal mode.
The var keyword should be prepended to each of the lines.
Note that this is not the only way to do this. For example, a macro or a normal mode command would have worked equally well. This latter approach is in fact usually more effective:
- With the cursor on
jjto highlight all 3 lines
- Press Enter
When a visual range is selected, pressing
: opens the command
prompt with the range prefilled. By typing
temporarily switches to normal mode, executing the subsequent
command for each line in the visual range. We just used
jump before the first letter in normal mode and type
This approach is good when the change we're making doesn't need to be repeated. In other situations, a macro is more effective.
Ctrl-p and fuzzy file search
Ctrl-p is a native Vim fuzzy finder. It can be used to search for files, buffers and tags with great configurability.
Hermes ships a ctrl-p configuration that uses the following defaults:
- uses the VCS root as a working directory, falling back to the current one if you're working outside a git repository;
- ignores tmp, database, log and VCS specific directories;
- current match at the top of the window;
- tag extension to search into the ctags database
Ctrl-p can be easily invoked with...
ctrl-p. As reported in its original
readme, here are some commands you can use:
<c-b>to cycle between modes.
<c-d>to switch to filename only search instead of full path.
Note that any filesystem change (new or deleted files) requires a cache refresh,
achievable by typing
Working with Rails
Rails.vim supercharges Vim with functions, shortcuts and a general 'rails-awareness' factor that proves to be invaluable when editing a Rails project.
Due to Rails's conventional nature, any project uses the same folder structure, and all files the same naming conventions. Rails.vim leverages this factor and provides a series of commands to open specific files in a Rails project without manually navigating to the file and keeping the current working directory at the root of the Rails application.
These commands always follow the same pattern and are prefixed with
R and are
followed by the name of the file you want to open (stripped of the extension).
Some examples are
:Rmodel to open a model,
:Rcontroller for a controller,
and so on.
All commands support variations to tweak the behaviour: for example,
RVcontroller will open the file in a vertically split pane. For a complete
Alternate and related files
When working on a certain feature, it's common to switch between certain files:
model to test, controller to related view and so on. Rails.vim provides
shortcuts for this file jumps: every file has got two counterparts: alternate
and related. As reported in the guide (
|Current file||Alternate file||Related file|
|model||unit test||schema definition|
|controller (in method)||functional test||template (view)|
|template (view)||functional test||controller (jump to method)|
|migration||previous migration||next migration|
:A will switch between a model and its test file, while
:R on a
index action will take us to the related
index view. Again, this
commands can be combined with modifiers to open the file in a new tab or split
Other commands, like the afore-mentioned
gf, get a proper boost, becoming
shortcuts to jump to the right file when pressed over a certain keyword. As an
example, let's look at the following code:
class Post < ActiveRecord::Base belongs_to :author end
:author (any character) will open
Other examples are included in the relevant help section (
Generators and Rake
You can use generators straight from Vim with
RGenerate, with the nice side
effects that the first generated file is automatically opened in the editor.
So, if you want to generate a new migration you can:
:Rgenerate migration ...
- make the relevant changes in the file
:Raketo execute it
This leads us to the
:Rake command: depending on the open file, it performs
different functions. See
:help rails-rake for details. Note that another
plugin included with Hermes,
vim-bundler, takes care of prepending
bundle exec to all commands.
Another common operation is partial extraction, i.e. moving a certain portion of erb code into a separate partial file.
Let's assume you have a file called
app/views/users/show.html.erb with this
<ul> <li><%= @user.name %></li> <li><%= @user.email %></li> </ul>
Using visual block mode (
V), highlight the two
<li> tags. Then type
:Rextract user and press enter. This will create a file called
app/views/users/_user.html.erb with the following content:
<li><%= user.name %></li> <li><%= user.email %></li>
It will also update the
show view by referencing that new partial:
<ul> <%= render :partial => 'user' %> </ul>
Working with Tmux
Even if Vim by itself is indeed extremely powerful, it just shines when paired with Tmux. Tmux is a terminal multiplexer, a program to manage multiple shell instances in the scope of a single session (whether it's local or SSH it doesn't matter).
In other words, Tmux allows the creation of separate tabs (called windows) and splits (called panes), interaction between them and an external api for programmatic control.
The recurring question that people ask when hearing about Tmux for the first time is "Why should I use this instead of the native functionality provided by my terminal emulator?". Here's why:
- Tmux is terminal emulator independent, i.e. you can use it with any terminal emulator (there are a few edge cases in terms of compatibility, but the usual suspects on Mac OsX and Linux are well supported).
- Tmux can start a session, suspend it (called detach) and resume it (called attach), everything from different machines and over a network connection as well.
- Tmux has an api for external control by a 3rd party software and we'll see that this is key in our setup.
- If you accidentally close your terminal emulator, you don't lose anything as it runs in a separate process.
- Tmux is designed to be controlled with keyboard only and it features a powerful Vim compatibility mode that uses identical shortcuts.
Hermes includes an opinionated Tmux setup that solves a few compatibility issues with OsX, rebinds many shortcuts to an easier to remember layout and adds a few bells and whistles (like date, time and battery information in the status bar). Huge thanks to Thoughtbot for sharing most of the code that made it into this configuration.
If you type
tmux in your shell, you will start a new session. As we haven't
passed a name, the session will receive an incremental number to identify it.
Tmux allows switching between different sessions, so ideally you would want a
separate one for each project you're working on.
At the bottom, you can see the list of windows on the left. This shows the current session windows, highlighting the current one. Windows also have an index, shown right on the left of the name.
The window behaves exactly like a "normal" terminal window, with just a couple of exceptions:
- Some shortcuts (like Cmd+k to clear the screen) can have unexpected behaviours. Where sensible, the configuration provides fallbacks.
- Mouse interaction is supported, but only with iTerm2 as terminal emulator (the default OsX terminal doesn't support it)
All tmux commands start with a prefix, set in this configuration to
a convention, this document will call this shortcut 'prefix', so
means 'press Ctrl-a, then c'.
Here are some basic commands:
prefix-2switches to the window identified by that index;
prefix-ccreates a new window;
prefix-|splits the current window vertically;
prefix-_splits the current window horizontally;
prefix-spacebarswitches between horizontal and vertical layout for panes;
prefix-xcloses the current pane.
prefix-acycles focus among the current window panes;
prefix-h/j/k/lmoves the focus respectively to the left, below, above and right from the current pane (very similar to Vim);
prefix-rreloads the tmux configuration (useful if you make some changes);
prefix-:enters tmux command mode, where you can type tmux commands to perform certain actions in a dedicated command line (this is advanced usage).
You can also change focus from one pane to another using the mouse, however that is usually slower than mastering keyboard shortcuts.
Scrolling, copy and paste
As expected, you can scroll inside a pane with your mouse, but Tmux supports complete mouseless interaction even for this kind of operation. This is possible by entering 'copy mode', where (similarly to Vim's normal and visual modes, pressing keyboard keys doesn't enter text but performs actions). Copy mode is identified by a status indicator in the top right corner of the pane (showing your cursor position in the current scroll buffer).
Copy mode can be entered by pressing
prefix-esc, but it can be alternatively
prefix-pageDown, so that after entering copy mode it scrolls up or down.
- scrolling with the mouse on a pane, or initiating a drag and drop selection.
Commands in copy mode are pretty much identical to Vim and that's because Tmux handily supports a Vim compatibility mode, so that you don't have to change your habits.
/will initiate a forward search. Simmetrically,
?will initiate a backward one;
pageDownwill scroll the pane;
Gwill go respectively to the top and the bottom;
vinitiates visual selection, so that you can select a visual portion of text and then, for example, press
yto copy it.
To see a list of all possible combinations, press
prefix-: to enter command
mode and type
list-keys -t vi-copy. Note also that a good set of motions are
supported, so you can type
v4w to select 4 words from the current one.
Allow yourself some time to master copy mode, as it's extremely powerful.
Note that if you use the mouse and perform a drag selection, text will be automatically copied into the clipboard upon releasing the left mouse button.
Tmux and Vim
Let's assume you are working on Rails application. Thanks to Rails.vim, you can easily navigate the codebase, but running tests is still a bit painful. You can create some bindings as shown above, but reality is, it would be great if you could type a shortctut to run tests "somewhere" else without interrupting your flow.
Hermes ships a combination of plugins that let you control your test suite runs from Vim using a separate pane in a Tmux session, so that you can benefit from asynchronous test runs without leaving your editor. This is achieved thanks to different plugins (vimux, vimux-ruby-test, vimux-cucumber and vim-turbux). It may seem a complicated setup, but in reality it allows to work in a much more natural way.
As an example, navigate to a Rails application folder on your machine and start
a Tmux session (if you're not inside one already). Then, open
Let's assume you have a
User model (really, any model is fine, this is just
for example purposes), so open
app/models/user.rb. We already know that
lets us navigate to the corresponding spec file and back, but we can also do
leader-t: that creates (if not present) a pane below in the current window to run the spec for the current file. So if you press it with
app/models/user.rbvisible, it's smart enough to execute the test for that file, independently from the testing framework (RSpec, TestUnit or MiniTest).
Now switch to the spec file and press
leader-f: it will run the test passing the current line number as an extra argument (a properly focused test).
If you now switch back to the implementation file and rerun
leader-f, Vim will remember the line number used in step 2, so that you can easily run only the test you need for the implementation you're working on.
What if you want to run a complex piece of code in the rails console? Just open one in the split pane, select a visual block in Vim and press
leader-r. It will send it to the split pane, running it into the console.
This code is free to use under the terms of the MIT license.
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
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