flagship.vim: Configurable and extensible tab line and status line
Latest commit 77342d7 Dec 12, 2015 @tpope Strip domain from hostname



Flagship provides a Vim status line and tab line that are both easily customizable by the user and extensible by other plugins.


Copy and paste for pathogen.vim:

cd ~/.vim/bundle
git clone git://github.com/tpope/vim-flagship.git
vim -u NONE -c "helptags vim-flagship/doc" -c q

While not strictly required, I highly recommend the following options:

set laststatus=2
set showtabline=2
set guioptions-=e

The first two force the status line and tab line to always display, and the third disables the GUI tab line in favor of the plain text version, enabling global flags and the tab prefix explained below.


Adding a flag from a plugin is a simple matter of calling Hoist() with a scope and function name from a User Flags autocommand. Here's an example from fugitive.vim:

autocmd User Flags call Hoist("buffer", "fugitive#statusline")

You can also do this in your vimrc, for example if a plugin provides a statusline flag function but does not natively integrate with Flagship. If the function isn't defined (e.g., you temporarily disable or permanently remove the plugin), it will be skipped. Here's a couple of mine:

autocmd User Flags call Hoist("window", "SyntasticStatuslineFlag")
autocmd User Flags call Hoist("global", "%{&ignorecase ? '[IC]' : ''}")


The extension API is great for adding flags, but what if you want to change the core content? For the status line, Vim already provides a perfectly adequate 'statusline' option, and Flagship will use it in constructing its own. Customizing your status line is exactly the same with and without Flagship.

The tab line is another story. The usual technique (see :help setting-tabline) involves creating a function that cycles through each tab and assembles a giant format string. Furthermore, while you can use the same status line "%" items, they're expanded in the context of the active window only, rendering most of them worthless for any tab but the current. Rather than embrace this abomination, Flagship hides it, instead exposing a g:tablabel option which can be assigned to customize the format of a single tab. Additionally, you can set g:tabprefix to define content to be inserted before the first tab (assuming you disabled the GUI tab line as instructed above).

The default tab label is nearly impossible to precisely reconstruct, and I never really found it useful, so I've taken it a different direction. Here's how it would look if you set g:tablabel yourself, using a few of the many helpers available:

let g:tablabel =
      \ "%N%{flagship#tabmodified()} %{flagship#tabcwds('shorten',',')}"

Here's a breakdown of what's included:

  • The tab number, so you never have to hesitate on gt invocation.
  • One + per modified window. Vim's default shows the status of the tab's current window only, which can be misleading.
  • A compact representation of the working directories of each window. For determining what project a tab is on, I find this far more useful than the filename.

Additionally, I've chosen to prefix the tab line with the Vim GUI server name (see :help v:servername) if available, or the current host name if SSHed. This only takes a few characters, and I find it to be greatly helpful in reducing confusion when running multiple instances of Vim. (Assign g:tabprefix if you don't like it.)


Like flagship.vim? Follow the repository on GitHub and vote for it on vim.org. And if you're feeling especially charitable, follow tpope on Twitter and GitHub.


Copyright © Tim Pope. Distributed under the same terms as Vim itself. See :help license.