VIM Tip 1: Align

November 19th, 2006 aizatto Posted in Misc, vim | Hits: 39384 | 8 Comments »

I like having my code aligned properly, for example, the following is not cool. The assignment operator is not aligned properly :(.

LIONS = 1
TIGERS = 2
BEARS = 3

This is what I want, it adds a certain zen to the code.

LIONS  = 1
TIGERS = 2
BEARS  = 3

Yes you can continually hit the spacebar to align it, but imagine if you have alot of values. That is simply going to waste time, an how about if you add a new variable that stretches the alignment? Definetly not cool.

What you want is the Align plugin. This will cover setting up with the Align plugin with VIM v7. So you'll also need vimball plugin to install it.

Once you've downloaded vimball move it to your vim plugin folder (by default on *nix machines: ~/.vim/plugin)
Example:

mv ~/vimballPlugin.vim ~/.vim/plugin

Next open the Align.vba with vim:

vim ~/Align.vba

It will prompt you to enter the following, and just hit enter:

:so %

And there you have it! The Align plugin has been set up.
For basic starters, select a group of text (using Shift V) and enter:

:Align =

VIM will display it as (because its selecting a range):

:'<,'>Align =

Enjoyed that? :3 I did... You can chose to align it with anything, just replace the equality sign with the desired character. For example in Ruby, one might use '=>' for elements in a Hash. Well there you go for starters. The Align plugin has more functionality so do take a peek around.

8 Responses to “VIM Tip 1: Align”

  1. You can also do the following for aligning Rails-like migrations code:
    * select text using visual mode
    * type either:
    \tsp
    \tsq

    For the documentation on this:
    :help alignmap-tsp
    :help alignmap-tsq

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  8. Hi!! Let me start saying that this plug-in is awesome. However I’ve found a strange behaviour when using it along Doxygen comments. As you may know there are several ways of writing this kind of comments:

    /** … */
    /*@ … */
    /*! … */
    /*!< … */
    ///
    and so on.

    Let me show you how aligne plug-in alignees them:

    /* * … */
    /* @ … */
    /* ! … */
    /* !< … */
    // /

    This sort of behaviour breaks your code (at least for Doxygen). Is there an option that might prevent this misbehaviour, or perhaps it can be taken into account for future plg-in's releases?

    Thank you and congratulations!!

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