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A two-way integration between Vim and IPython 0.11+

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A two-way integration between Vim and IPython 0.11+

Using this plugin, you can send lines or whole files for IPython to execute, and also get back object introspection and word completions in Vim, like what you get with: object?<enter> and object.<tab> in IPython.

The big change from previous versions of ipy.vim is that it no longer requires the old brittle instantiation, and since it uses just vim and python, it is platform independent (i.e. should work even on windows, unlike the previous *nix only solution). The requirements are IPython 0.11+ with zeromq capabilities, vim compiled with +python.

If you can launch ipython qtconsole and :echo has('python') returns 1 in vim, you should be good to go.

Quickstart Guide:

Start ipython qtconsole [*] and copy the connection string. Source ipy.vim file, which provides new IPython command:

:source ipy.vim
(or copy it to ~/.vim/ftplugin/python to load automatically)

(or :IPythonXSelection if you're using X11 without having to copy)

The :IPython command allows you to put the full string, e.g.:

:IPython --existing --shell=41882 --iopub=43286 --stdin=34987 --hb=36697

The :IPythonClipboard command just uses the + register to get the connection string, whereas :IPythonXSelection uses the * register

[*] Though the demos above use qtconsole, it is not required for this workflow, it's just that it was the easiest way to show how to make use of the new functionality in 0.11 release. In the current git trunk of IPython, you can use ipython kernel to create a kernel and get the connection string to use for any frontend (including vim-ipython). If you are still using 0.11, you can launch a regular kernel using python -c "from IPython.zmq.ipkernel import main; main()"

Sending lines to IPython

Now type out a line and send it to IPython using <Ctrl-S> from Command mode:

import os

You should see a notification message confirming the line was sent, along with the input number for the line, like so In[1]: import os.

<Ctrl-S> also works from insert mode, but doesn't show notification, unless monitor_subchannel is set to True (see vim-ipython 'shell', below)

It also works blockwise in Visual Mode. Select and send these lines using <Ctrl-S>:

import this,math # secret decoder ring
a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i = range(1,10)
code =(c,a,d,a,e,i,)
msg = '...jrer nyy frag sebz Ivz.\nIvz+VClguba=%fyl '+this.s.split()[g]
decode=lambda x:"\n"+"".join([this.d.get(c,c) for c in x])+"!"
format=lambda x:'These lines:\n  '+'\n  '.join([l for l in x.splitlines()])
secret_decoder = lambda a,b: format(a)+decode(msg)%str(b)[:-1]
'%d'*len(code)%code == str(int(math.pi*1e5))

Then, go to the qtconsole and run this line:

print secret_decoder(_i,_)

You can also send whole files to IPython's %run magic using <F5>.

IPython's object? Functionality

If you're using gvim, mouse-over a variable to see IPython's ? equivalent. If you're using vim from a terminal, or want to copy something from the docstring, type <leader>d. <leader> is usually \ (the backslash key). This will open a quickpreview window, which can be closed by hitting q or <escape>.

IPython's tab-completion Functionality

vim-ipython activates a 'completefunc' that queries IPython. A completefunc is activated using Ctrl-X Ctrl-U in Insert Mode (vim default). You can combine this functionality with SuperTab to get tab completion.

vim-ipython 'shell'

NEW since IPython 0.11!

By monitoring km.sub_channel, we can recreate what messages were sent to IPython, and what IPython sends back in response.

monitor_subchannel is a parameter that sets whether this 'shell' should updated on every sent command (default: True).

If at any later time you wish to bring this shell up, including if you've set monitor_subchannel=False, hit <leader>s.


You can change these at the top of the ipy.vim:

reselect = False            # reselect lines after sending from Visual mode
show_execution_count = True # wait to get numbers for In[43]: feedback?
monitor_subchannel = True   # update vim-ipython 'shell' on every send?
run_flags= "-i"             # flags to for IPython's run magic when using <F5>

In your own .vimrc, if you don't like the mappings provided by default, you can define a variable let g:ipy_perform_mappings=0 which will prevent vim-ipython from defining any of the default mappings.

Current issues:

  • For now, vim-ipython only connects to an ipython session in progress.

  • The ipdb integration is not yet re-implemented.

  • If you're running inside screen, read about the <CTRL-S> issue here, and add this line to your .bashrc to fix it:

    stty stop undef # to unmap ctrl-s
  • In vim, if you're getting ImportError: No module named IPython.zmq.blockingkernelmanager but are able to import it in regular python, either

    1. your sys.path in vim differs from the sys.path in regular python. Try running these two lines, and comparing their output files:

      $ vim -c 'py import vim, sys; vim.current.buffer.append(sys.path)' -c ':wq vim_syspath'
      $ python -c "import sys; f=file('python_syspath','w'); f.write('\n'.join(sys.path)); f.close()"


    1. your vim is compiled against a different python than you are launching. See if there's a difference between

      $ vim -c ':py import os; print os.__file__' -c ':q'
      $ python -c ':py import os; print os.__file__'
  • For vim inside a terminal, using the arrow keys won't work inside a documentation buffer, because the mapping for <Esc> overlaps with ^[OA and so on, and we use <Esc> as a quick way of closing the documentation preview window. If you want go without this quick close functionality and want to use the arrow keys instead, look for instructions starting with "Known issue: to enable the use of arrow keys..." in the get_doc_buffer function.

  • @fholgado's update to minibufexpl.vim that is up on GitHub will always put the cursor in the minibuf after sending a command when monitor_subchannel is set. This is a bug in minibufexpl.vim and the workaround is described in vim-ipython issue #7.


  • @MinRK for guiding me through the IPython kernel manager protocol.


  • @nakamuray and @tcheneau for reporting and providing a fix for when vim is compiled without a gui (#1)
  • @unpingco for reporting Windows bugs (#3,#4)
  • @simon-b for terminal vim arrow key issue (#5)
  • @jorgesca and @kwgoodman for shell (#6)
  • @zeekay for easily allowing custom mappings (#9)
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