Script Roundup: indentLine, microbe


indentLine (GitHub: Yggdroot / indentLine) by Yggdroot Chen can be used to display vertical lines at each indentation level when spaces are used instead of tabs.

The character used to represent an indentation level can be changed with let g:indentLine_char = '|', and the author suggests using UTF-8 characters where supported for a cleaner visual style.


Microbe (GitHub: xsc / microbe-vim) by Yannick Scherer is a Pathogen-based, minimalist, plugin manager. It's a shell script that relies on curl and other widely available command-line tools for updating pathogen, adding and removing packages, and updating packages.

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Powerline Alternatives


Although Powerline is extremely popular (and looks undeniably cool), it does take a bit of effort to install. It used to be distributed as a Vim plugin, but was superseded by a Python script that many struggled to install. The advantage of the Python script is it consolidates Powerline-style info bars for several applications: Vim, tmux, screen, and more. However, there were those that felt it was too laborious to get it set up right: messing around with patched fonts and Python is a barrier to entry.

That's where vim-airline comes in. It is 100% Vim script, small, integrates with other plugins like NERD Tree and fugitive.vim, and still looks good with unpatched fonts. I think for me that's a big win, because I often find myself using systems that can't even support the patched fonts Powerline works best with.

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Vim: The Basics

Vim: The Basics by Andrew Stanton is an introduction to Vim, costs $8, and is available for Kindle, ePub, etc.

This eBook guides you through the basics of Vim, helping you to become familiar and competent with one of the most popular text editors in the world.

What I really liked about this book, though, is the author asked for feedback on a reddit thread: VIM eBook feedback request (self.vim).

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Script Roundup: npm.vim, sexy_scroller.vim


If you don't use Node, you probably think npm is a flavour of the month hipster thing. I'm not sure if that's true, but I like npm a lot, so I looked at Afshin Mehrabani's npm.vim (GitHub: afshinm / npm.vim) with genuine interest. This script is currently very simple -- :Npm module will install module. There's nothing more to it, but the author has included documentation and packaged the plugin so it's easy to install with Pathogen and Vundle.

Hopefully he's using it as a placeholder for some cool time saving features that Node developers will enjoy soon...


sexyscroller.vim (GitHub: joeytwiddle / sexyscroller.vim) is different to other smooth scrolling scripts, claims the author Joey Twiddle, because it provides easing, operates on general movements, and uses winrestview.

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Vim Cheat Sheet Poster: 2.0

Vim Poster

I already wrote about the Vim Cheat Sheet Poster by Max Cantor last year. I had it hanging in my office and referred to it numerous times while working and writing this blog. The new version can be pre-ordered and costs $25 plus shipping. There will be a sneak peek on July 31st.

The last version was good quality, although slightly heavy so it fell off my wall a few times (I used Blu-Tack but it really needs pins). If you're interested in getting yourself a large Vim cheat sheet I'd order now to help Max get the project going:

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Vim 7.4 Beta

A beta of Vim 7.4 has been released. One of the significant changes is a new regular expression engine:

Announcing:  Vim (Vi IMproved) version 7.4a BETA 

This is the first BETA release of Vim 7.4. 

Please check that the distribution is OK.  I haven't done one for a long 
time.  Report anything that isn't right.  That includes a crash but also 
a typo in the documentation or a missing file. 

The biggest additions since 7.3: 
- A new, faster regular expression engine. 
- More than a thousand fixes and small improvements. 

Once you have installed Vim 7.4a BETA you can find details about the 
changes since Vim 7.3 with: 
        :help version-7.4 

Binaries are here:

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Introduction to Vim Sessions

Vim supports sessions, but in a very lightweight kind of way. When the :mksession {file} (:help :mksession, abbreviation: :mks) command is issued, Vim will save certain settings. You can safely try this out right now -- just type :mksession ~/session, then open the file and take a look inside.

The first line should be let SessionLoad = 1. This causes the SessionLoad variable to be set when the session file is loaded, allowing Vim to track when a session file is loaded. To load a session file, all you need to do is source it with the :source command (:help :source, abbreviation: :so). I think it's cool that there's no specific "load session" command -- :source just reads Ex commands from a file.

Another thing worth learning about sessions is you can control what :mksession includes by editing the 'sessionoptions' (:help 'sessionoptions', abbreviation: 'ssop') variable. Mine currently looks like this: blank,buffers,curdir,folds,help,options,tabpages,winsize. You can view yours by typing :set ssop?. The help page for this setting lists each supported option -- one that I haven't got set is winpos which records the position of the Vim window (I'm using console Vim).

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Holy Light

Holy Light by Samy Dindane is a plugin for Macs that changes the background variable based on the amount of ambient light recorded by Mac's light sensor.

The sensor is interrogated using a binary program, the source of which can be found here: The program works by connecting to Apple's LMU I/O service (AppleLMUController), and then grabbing the current brightness value. If the value is less than a threshold (1000000) then the background is switched to dark.

The 'background' value can be set manually with :set background=light and :set background=dark (:help 'background', abbreviation: bg). Vim tries to pick colours that will look good on a dark/light background.

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Script Roundup: Git Shade, accelerated-smooth-scroll

Git Shade

Git Shade (GitHub: joeytwiddle / git_shade.vim) by Paul Clark is a GUI mode plugin that adds colour highlights based on changes in Git's history. It has some configuration options for colours, and can increase the intensity of the shading with let g:GitShade_Linear = 0.

I really like Vim Git Gutter in console mode, so check that out if you haven't seen it before.


accelerated-smooth-scroll (GitHub: yonchu / accelerated-smooth-scroll) by Yonchu makes Vim's scroll speed appear to increase and decrease, giving the illusion of acceleration you might find in desktop applications. The author has made a video so you can see what it looks like without downloading it.

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