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org-recipes - A code snippet navigator and collector with Org

This package collects code snippets under the inner-most Org heading. In the context of this package, such an Org heading is called a Recipe. It provides the following features:

  • List all Org headings with at least a code snippet.

  • Each entry can be visited for viewing.

  • Insert code from a recipes into the current buffer, or a specific file if the code block explicitly specifies. The description text is stripped and all code snippets are concatenated into a single snippet and then it is insert into current buffer.

  • Compose recipes to generate code all at once.

The snippets are retrieved by scanning the file list in org-recipes-file-list. If org-wiki is available, it automatically retrieves the list from org-wiki.


Suppose we have an org file with the following snippets:

* Python
** Recipes
*** Find HTML tags with a Beautiful Soup object

#+BEGIN_SRC python
  findAll(tag, attributes, recursive, text, limit, keywords)
  find(tag, attributes, recursive, text, keywords)


#+BEGIN_SRC python
     .findAll("span", {"class":"green", "class":"red"})
     .findAll(text="the prince")

*** Parse HTML/XML with BeautifulSoup
1. Get the HTML structure of a URL:
   #+BEGIN_SRC python
     html = urlopen(""+articleUrl)

2. Use BeautifulSoup to parse:
     #+BEGIN_SRC python
       bsObj = BeautifulSoup(html, "lxml")

3. Then, retrieve any data with Python e.g. regex:

#+BEGIN_SRC python
  bsObj.find("div", {"id":"bodyContent"}).findAll("a",href=re.compile("^(/wiki/)((?!:).)*$"))

Then, running the command org-recipes will display it like this:


Finally, pressing C-c i inserts the raw code under a heading:

findAll(tag, attributes, recursive, text, limit, keywords)
find(tag, attributes, recursive, text, keywords)
.findAll("span", {"class":"green", "class":"red"})
.findAll(text="the prince")

Why another snippet tool?

Have you ever encountered this recurring pattern when writing code:

  • You learned about the usage of a particular complex API; or, you happen to read an interesting piece of code in an open source project that you believe can be reused for the future; or you simply store common code snippets that is used everywhere e.g. code related to get command line options, code that open/close threads/processes...

  • As time passes, you forgot most of the knowledge what you acquired today. So, you store it in some sort of storage, e.g. a plain file, a Markdown file, a plain source file with comments, etc,.

  • However, as you accumulate many little snippets over the year, it is becoming more and more time consuming to search and retrieve the necessary snippets. Sometimes, it is faster just to type into the web browser that is always opened.

  • Once you retrieve the correct snippets, you want to copy and paste it into the main working buffer to start modify to suit the problem at hands. However, the snippets might not be free: a snippet can be divided into different sections, each with its own description to quickly remind you what this code snippet does.

  • You tediously copy/paste parts of a code snippet scattered in its file.

This package automates the above process. How about yasnippet? Despite being similar, this package solves a different problem: it is a snippet navigator and collector, leveraged by the powerful org-mode, while yasnippet is a templating system. In my opinion, yasnippet is best for creating snippets of language syntaxes e.g. templates for if, while... syntaxes in C, Java.

On the other hand, in org-recipe, each recipe can contain a code snippet similar to yasnippet and more: the descriptive text that gives the context of the code, which means everything that Org supports! By managing code snippets in such a way, users can create their personal code wiki, but the relevant source code in the wiki can immediately appear in the current working buffer, as demonstrated in the Example section.

If you use org-wiki, all the wiki files are automatically used.


Recipe format

Each recipe is an Org heading, with code blocks in it:

* Hello World recipe
:SYMBOL:   HelloWorld

This is a code block for inserting in the current working buffer:

#+begin_src python
print("Hello world")

This code block is also inserted in the current buffer:

#+begin_src python
print("Another hello world")

This is a code block for inserting in a file, as specified by :file parameter:

#+begin_src python :file ""
print("File hello world")

Major mode filtering

To prevent unncessary snippets to appear in the list, you can put a keyword in an Org file that explicitly specify which major modes the file is applicable, then only buffer with such major modes will get the snippets from the Org file.

For example, at the very beginning, right after the title:

#+TITLE: C code snippets
#+MODE: c, c++

Then, the snippets in the file will only appear when the current buffer is in c-mode or c++-mode.

Composite Recipe

An Org source block can be composed of various other recipes before or after its main body. For example:

* Process connection

#+begin_src c++ :pre-recipe '(PrepareSocket Bind Open Listen) :post-recipe '(CloseSocket)

....code for processing connections ...


When added with the parameter :pre-recipe, all recipes inside the list is inserted before the main code body of the source block. Similarly, recipes in :post-recipe are inserted after the main code body.

This feature enables reusability.

Option: org-recipes-file-list

This option is a list of files that org-recipes processes to retrieve the list of code snippets.

Command: org-recipes

Run the command org-recipes to get all Org headings with snippets. Then, you can either:

  • Run persistent action to view the snippet.
  • Press C-c i to insert the tangled source code in a heading.

Command: org-recipes-dwim

A recipe can be assigned with a name:

* Hello World Recipe
:SYMBOL:   HelloWorld

This is a code block for inserting in the current working buffer:

#+begin_src python
print("Hello world")

The :SYMBOL: property gives a recipe a name. A command to expand code based on the object at point. An object can either be:

  • A recipe name: in this case, the code snippet from the recipe with the name is inserted into theh current buffer, or a file (if a code snippet specifies). For example, when the cursor is on the symbol HelloWorld in a buffer, running org-recipes-dwim expands the code snippets in Hello World Recipe above.

  • A list that is a collection of multipole recipes: in this case, code snippets from all recipes are collected and inserted into current buffer (if a code snippet specifies). For example, if we have the recipe list: (RecipeA RecipeB RecipeC) in a buffer, when running org-recipes-dwim, all the snippets in the recipe list is inserted appropriately.

Future Plan

[X] Filter snippets by major mode

Currently, all code snippets from all Org files are retrieved. It should be filtered according to major mode to only retrieve the relevant ones.

This can be done with two methods:

  • Each Org file should be able to annotate that it is applicable for a major mode, so org-recipes can avoid unncessary parsing. If an Org file is not assigned to a major mode, then proceed as usual.

  • Only source blocks that are relevant to the current major mode are retrieve.

[X] Add Ignore block

Certain source blocks under a heading should be possible to ignore. Such blocks should be marked with :ignore parameter.

[X] Composite Recipe

An Org source block should be able to specify a list of existing recipes as its content. For example:

* Server program

#+begin_src c++ :recipe '(PrepareSocket Bind Open Listen Process CloseSocket)

[ ] Add global block

Add a parameter that specifies a source block can appear in any major mode.

[ ] View aggregated recipe headlines

A recipe can be as simple as a symbol. In this case, viewing it from the Helm interface suffices. However, if it is a list of symbols, then the headline of each recipe, which corresponds to a symbol, should be aggreated and displayed in a buffer.

For example, suppose we have the following aggregated recipe: (OpenGameProcess ReadGameObject MonitorGameObject). The Org headlines for each inner recipe then is:

  • OpenGameProcess:

    Use OpenProcess API call to open a Windows process, with debug priviledge.

  • ReadGameObject:

    Sample snippet to read game object in memory.

  • MonitorGameObject:

    A thread that constantly checking game object and signal at necessary changes.

[ ] Add Execute block

When encounter this block:

#+begin_src sh :execute
.... shell commmands...

The shell commands in between should be executed. It is useful to prepare the environment for code to be inserted. For example, a code snippet might specify a file in a specific directory to be inserted. The shell commands in the Execute block can help to create these directories and files.

[ ] Enable file list generated by a function

Users should be able to assign a function for generating the file list.

[ ] Local and global file lists

Users should be able to assign a file list local to a project. However, they should also be able to keep a list of common files.

[ ] View aggregated content of code snippets

Since we can view the summary (by collecting appropriate Org headlines) of a list of recipes, it should also be possible to collect an aggregated content of each recipe.

[ ] Integrate with other completion backends

For example, Ivy, Ido. Hopefully someone contributes.

[ ] Integrate with Yasnippet

It should be possible to use Snippet block for generating code:

#+begin_src Snippet
... Yasnippet content ...

When encountered with such code block, org-recipes should expand in the same manner as Yasnippet expands.


A code snippet manager with Org and Helm




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