Using Vimux With Octopress

September 09, 2013

Using Vim as your editor with Octopress works well enough except that you have to either exit out of the editor or open a second session in order to generate the site to see your new posting. Using Vimux you can run commands in a separate pane without losing focus in your Vim pane. This turns out to be perfect for creating or editing posts for an Octopress site.

First you need to add the Vimux bundle to your Vim configuration. Since I'm using Vundle I just added this line to my .vimrc file.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'

And then installed the new bundle.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
:BundleInstall

The Vimux help (:h vimux) does a great job of explaining the various commands and options provided by the bundle. Here are the settings I added to my .vimrc.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
let g:VimuxHeight = "30"
let g:VimuxOrientation = 'v'
let g:VimuxUseNearestPane = 0

The height setting controls what percentage of your current pane will be given over to the Vimux pane. The orientation settings controls whether the new pane is vertically below the current one (v) or horizontally to the right of it (h). The VimuxUseNearestPane when set to true (1) will use the nearest open tmux pane rather than space within the pane containing your Vim session.

With these settings in place I added some general Vimux mappings.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
nmap <leader>vp :VimuxPromptCommand<cr>

This brings up a Command? prompt where you can enter any command your shell recognizes.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
nmap <leader>vl :VimuxRunLastCommand<cr>

As the name suggests, VimuxRunLastCommand reissues the last command.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
nmap <leader>vq :VimuxCloseRunner<cr>

VimuxCloseRunner closes the Vimux pane.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
nmap <leader>vx :VimuxInterruptRunner<cr>

The interrupt runner command halts the command in the runner.

Rather than have to bring up the Vimux command prompt with ,vp and then type in my Octopress generate alias, I created some more mappings with Octopress specific commands.

Bundle 'benmills/vimux'
nmap <leader>vg :call VimuxRunCommand("gen")<CR>
nmap <leader>vi :call VimuxRunCommand("ingen")<CR>
nmap <leader>vz :call VimuxRunCommand("dz")<CR>
namp <leader>vd :call VimuxRunCommand("deploy")<CR>

The first of these, vg runs my alias for rake generate, building what ever is currently in the source/_posts directory. I make heavy use of rake isolate as my site contains over 2,000 entries and takes more than 8 minutes to generate.

Which explains the next mapping, vi. ingen is my alias that runs a rake integrate followed by a rake generate. Typically I only run this command when a new posting has been proofread and is ready to be published.

I have two Octopress sites, one of which is still on an much older version of Octopress. The rake deploy task for this older version doesn't handle .htaccess files, so my dz alias chains together the commands necessary to rsync my site and copy the .htaccess files into place.

Finally the vd mapping issues my alias for a regular rake deploy which works for my new Octopress site.

Having Vimux in place allows me to work on a new page or posting, generating the site as I go, without losing focus in my Vim session. It has made creating new content for my sites simpler and more satisfying.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.