View Full Version : I want to do something with vim and the terminal. Is this possible?

October 23rd, 2012, 01:03 AM
I recently started using vim, and here's what I'd like to be able to do:

1. SSH into a server.
2. Browse around the directories, and open some files with vim in different tabs (vim -p file1.pl file2.pl...) and edit those files.
3. While those files are still open in vim, switch back to the command line (maybe using screen, or ctrl-z), and navigate to a different directory.
4. Open a file in that directory in the same instance of vim from before, in a new tab.

Step 4 is what I'm having trouble with. I realize I could switch back to vim and do :tabnew /absolute/path/to/file , but that's annoying because I've already navigated there using the command line. This may seem like a trivial point, but I have to do this a lot from different directories and the paths are long, so it seems like there should be a more efficient way... maybe a command from the command line that somehow calls upon that particular vim instance.

If this is possible with emacs but not vim, I'll take that too.

Thanks for any help!

October 23rd, 2012, 01:05 PM
I don't know that it's possible to communicate with a running instance of vim to get it to open another file (and tab); I haven't heard of it, but it may be possible.

I'm not familiar with using tabs in emacs (or in vim for that matter), although I do know that there is such a thing (http://emacswiki.org/emacs/TabBarMode).

If I "ssh -X" to another server, I can then do:

# start a daemon
emacs -daemon
# start a GUI connected to the daemon opening 1 file
emacsclient -c a.c &
# open another file in the existing GUI
emacsclient b.c &

Of course, you can also run a shell window inside emacs, which means you don't need server/client stuff, for example eshell has the builtin command find-file <filename> which opens a new edit buffer for the given file.

However, I don't know emacs that well any more I'm afraid. I keep meaning to relearn, but I still know vim better.

October 23rd, 2012, 02:33 PM
I looked in the manpage because I was pretty sure there is a way to do this, and I was right, although it's kind of deeply buried.

--remote Connect to a Vim server and make it edit the files given in
the rest of the arguments. If no server is found a warning
is given and the files are edited in the current Vim.


List the names of all Vim servers that can be found.

--servername {name}
Use {name} as the server name. Used for the current Vim,
unless used with a --remote argument, then it's the name of
the server to connect to.

So to answer your question, you could start Vim as follows:

% vim --servername foo

and run this to edit files in it:

% vim --remote --servername foo file_1 file_2

Seems the default servername is VIM both when starting up and when connecting, so if you only have one instance open you wouldn't need to worry about that argument; it would just be `vim` and `vim --remote file_1 ...`.