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*snipMate.txt* Plugin for using TextMate-style snippets in Vim.
snipMate *snippet* *snippets* *snipMate*
Last Change: July 13, 2009
|snipMate-description| Description
|snipMate-syntax| Snippet syntax
|snipMate-usage| Usage
|snipMate-settings| Settings
|snipMate-features| Features
|snipMate-disadvantages| Disadvantages to TextMate
|snipMate-contact| Contact
For Vim version 7.0 or later.
This plugin only works if 'compatible' is not set.
{Vi does not have any of these features.}
DESCRIPTION *snipMate-description*
snipMate.vim implements some of TextMate's snippets features in Vim. A
snippet is a piece of often-typed text that you can insert into your
document using a trigger word followed by a <tab>.
For instance, in a C file using the default installation of snipMate.vim, if
you type "for<tab>" in insert mode, it will expand a typical for loop in C: >
for (i = 0; i < count; i++) {
To go to the next item in the loop, simply <tab> over to it; if there is
repeated code, such as the "i" variable in this example, you can simply
start typing once it's highlighted and all the matches specified in the
snippet will be updated. To go in reverse, use <shift-tab>.
SYNTAX *snippet-syntax*
Snippets can be defined in two ways. They can be in their own file, named
after their trigger in 'snippets/<filetype>/<trigger>.snippet', or they can be
defined together in a 'snippets/<filetype>.snippets' file. Note that dotted
'filetype' syntax is supported -- e.g., you can use >
:set ft=html.eruby
to activate snippets for both HTML and eRuby for the current file.
The syntax for snippets in *.snippets files is the following: >
snippet trigger
expanded text
more expanded text
Note that the first hard tab after the snippet trigger is required, and not
expanded in the actual snippet. The syntax for *.snippet files is the same,
only without the trigger declaration and starting indentation.
Also note that snippets must be defined using hard tabs. They can be expanded
to spaces later if desired (see |snipMate-indenting|).
"#" is used as a line-comment character in *.snippets files; however, they can
only be used outside of a snippet declaration. E.g.: >
# this is a correct comment
snippet trigger
expanded text
snippet another_trigger
# this isn't a comment!
expanded text
This should hopefully be obvious with the included syntax highlighting.
Tab stops ~
By default, the cursor is placed at the end of a snippet. To specify where the
cursor is to be placed next, use "${#}", where the # is the number of the tab
stop. E.g., to place the cursor first on the id of a <div> tag, and then allow
the user to press <tab> to go to the middle of it:
snippet div
<div id="${1}">
*snipMate-placeholders* *snipMate-${#:}* *snipMate-$#*
Placeholders ~
Placeholder text can be supplied using "${#:text}", where # is the number of
the tab stop. This text then can be copied throughout the snippet using "$#",
given # is the same number as used before. So, to make a C for loop: >
snippet for
for (${2:i}; $2 < ${1:count}; $1++) {
This will cause "count" to first be selected and change if the user starts
typing. When <tab> is pressed, the "i" in ${2}'s position will be selected;
all $2 variables will default to "i" and automatically be updated if the user
starts typing.
NOTE: "$#" syntax is used only for variables, not for tab stops as in TextMate.
Variables within variables are also possible. For instance: >
snippet opt
<option value="${1:option}">${2:$1}</option>
Will, as usual, cause "option" to first be selected and update all the $1
variables if the user starts typing. Since one of these variables is inside of
${2}, this text will then be used as a placeholder for the next tab stop,
allowing the user to change it if he wishes.
To copy a value throughout a snippet without supplying default text, simply
use the "${#:}" construct without the text; e.g.: >
snippet foo
< *snipMate-commands*
Interpolated Vim Script ~
Snippets can also contain Vim script commands that are executed (via |eval()|)
when the snippet is inserted. Commands are given inside backticks (`...`); for
TextMates's functionality, use the |system()| function. E.g.: >
snippet date
`system("date +%Y-%m-%d")`
will insert the current date, assuming you are on a Unix system. Note that you
can also (and should) use |strftime()| for this example.
Filename([{expr}] [, {defaultText}]) *snipMate-filename* *Filename()*
Since the current filename is used often in snippets, a default function
has been defined for it in snipMate.vim, appropriately called Filename().
With no arguments, the default filename without an extension is returned;
the first argument specifies what to place before or after the filename,
and the second argument supplies the default text to be used if the file
has not been named. "$1" in the first argument is replaced with the filename;
if you only want the filename to be returned, the first argument can be left
blank. Examples: >
snippet filename
snippet filename_with_default
`Filename('', 'name')`
snippet filename_foo
The first example returns the filename if it the file has been named, and an
empty string if it hasn't. The second returns the filename if it's been named,
and "name" if it hasn't. The third returns the filename followed by "_foo" if
it has been named, and an empty string if it hasn't.
To specify that a snippet can have multiple matches in a *.snippets file, use
this syntax: >
snippet trigger A description of snippet #1
expand this text
snippet trigger A description of snippet #2
expand THIS text!
In this example, when "trigger<tab>" is typed, a numbered menu containing all
of the descriptions of the "trigger" will be shown; when the user presses the
corresponding number, that snippet will then be expanded.
To create a snippet with multiple matches using *.snippet files,
simply place all the snippets in a subdirectory with the trigger name:
USAGE *snipMate-usage*
*'snippets'* *g:snippets_dir*
Snippets are by default looked for any 'snippets' directory in your
'runtimepath'. Typically, it is located at '~/.vim/snippets/' on *nix or
'$HOME\vimfiles\snippets\' on Windows. To change that location or add another
one, change the g:snippets_dir variable in your |.vimrc| to your preferred
directory, or use the |ExtractSnips()|function. This will be used by the
|globpath()| function, and so accepts the same syntax as it (e.g.,
comma-separated paths).
ExtractSnipsFile({directory}, {filetype}) *ExtractSnipsFile()* *.snippets*
ExtractSnipsFile() extracts the specified *.snippets file for the given
filetype. A .snippets file contains multiple snippet declarations for the
filetype. It is further explained above, in |snippet-syntax|.
ExtractSnips({directory}, {filetype}) *ExtractSnips()* *.snippet*
ExtractSnips() extracts *.snippet files from the specified directory and
defines them as snippets for the given filetype. The directory tree should
look like this: 'snippets/<filetype>/<trigger>.snippet'. If the snippet has
multiple matches, it should look like this:
'snippets/<filetype>/<trigger>/<name>.snippet' (see |multi_snip|).
The ResetSnippets() function removes all snippets from memory. This is useful
to put at the top of a snippet setup file for if you would like to |:source|
it multiple times.
*list-snippets* *i_CTRL-R_<Tab>*
If you would like to see what snippets are available, simply type <c-r><tab>
in the current buffer to show a list via |popupmenu-completion|.
SETTINGS *snipMate-settings* *g:snips_author*
The g:snips_author string (similar to $TM_FULLNAME in TextMate) should be set
to your name; it can then be used in snippets to automatically add it. E.g.: >
let g:snips_author = 'Hubert Farnsworth'
snippet name
*snipMate-expandtab* *snipMate-indenting*
If you would like your snippets to be expanded using spaces instead of tabs,
just enable 'expandtab' and set 'softtabstop' to your preferred amount of
spaces. If 'softtabstop' is not set, 'shiftwidth' is used instead.
snipMate does not come with a setting to customize the trigger key, but you
can remap it easily in the two lines it's defined in the 'after' directory
under 'plugin/snipMate.vim'. For instance, to change the trigger key
to CTRL-J, just change this: >
ino <tab> <c-r>=TriggerSnippet()<cr>
snor <tab> <esc>i<right><c-r>=TriggerSnippet()<cr>
to this: >
ino <c-j> <c-r>=TriggerSnippet()<cr>
snor <c-j> <esc>i<right><c-r>=TriggerSnippet()<cr>
FEATURES *snipMate-features*
snipMate.vim has the following features among others:
- The syntax of snippets is very similar to TextMate's, allowing
easy conversion.
- The position of the snippet is kept transparently (i.e. it does not use
markers/placeholders written to the buffer), which allows you to escape
out of an incomplete snippet, something particularly useful in Vim.
- Variables in snippets are updated as-you-type.
- Snippets can have multiple matches.
- Snippets can be out of order. For instance, in a do...while loop, the
condition can be added before the code.
- [New] File-based snippets are supported.
- [New] Triggers after non-word delimiters are expanded, e.g. "foo"
in "".
- [New] <shift-tab> can now be used to jump tab stops in reverse order.
DISADVANTAGES *snipMate-disadvantages*
snipMate.vim currently has the following disadvantages to TextMate's snippets:
- There is no $0; the order of tab stops must be explicitly stated.
- Placeholders within placeholders are not possible. E.g.: >
'<div${1: id="${2:some_id}}">${3}</div>'
In TextMate this would first highlight ' id="some_id"', and if
you hit delete it would automatically skip ${2} and go to ${3}
on the next <tab>, but if you didn't delete it it would highlight
"some_id" first. You cannot do this in snipMate.vim.
- Regex cannot be performed on variables, such as "${1/.*/\U&}"
- Placeholders cannot span multiple lines.
- Activating snippets in different scopes of the same file is
not possible.
Perhaps some of these features will be added in a later release.
CONTACT *snipMate-contact* *snipMate-author*
To contact the author (Michael Sanders), please email:
msanders42+snipmate <at> gmail <dot> com
I greatly appreciate any suggestions or improvements offered for the script.
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