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RubyGems Automatic Ctags Invoker

Nary a day of Ruby development goes by where I don't run gem open or bundle open. And when I go rooting around in a gem, I want tags. As good as I've gotten at ctags -R ., I've grown weary of it. So I wrote a RubyGems plugin to automatically invoke Ctags on gems as they are installed.


If you haven't already, install Exuberant Ctags and make sure it comes first in $PATH. With Homebrew, brew install ctags. Now all that's left to do is install gem-ctags and perform a one-off indexing of the gems that are already installed:

gem install gem-ctags
gem ctags

If you're using RVM, I recommend extending your global gemset by adding gem-ctags to ~/.rvm/gemsets/global.gems. Put it at the top so the gems below it will be indexed.


If you see

$ ctags -R
ctags: illegal option -- R
usage: ctags [-BFadtuwvx] [-f tagsfile] file ...

you do not have the correct version of ctags in your path.

Just add the following to your .bashrc and be happy:

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

Vim Tips

To easily edit a gem with your current working directory set to the gem's root, install gem-browse.

If you have rake.vim installed (which, by the way, is a misleading name), Vim will already know where to look for the tags file when editing a gem.

If you have bundler.vim installed, Vim will be aware of all tags files from all gems in your bundle.

If you want to get crazy, add this to your vimrc to get Vim to search all gems in your current RVM gemset (requires pathogen.vim):

autocmd FileType ruby let &l:tags = pathogen#legacyjoin(pathogen#uniq(
      \ pathogen#split(&tags) +
      \ map(split($GEM_PATH,':'),'v:val."/gems/*/tags"')))

I don't like to get crazy.


Don't submit a pull request with an ugly commit message or I will ignore your patch until I have the energy to politely explain my zero tolerance policy.


Copyright (c) Tim Pope. MIT License.


Automatic ctags generation on gem install



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