Vimrunner Build Status

Using Vim's client/server functionality, this library exposes a way to spawn a Vim instance and control it programatically. Apart from being a fun party trick, this can be used to do integration testing on Vimscript.

This is still fairly experimental, so use with caution. Any issue reports or contributions are very welcome on the GitHub issue tracker.

Usage

Vimrunner can be used in one of two main ways:

# Vim will automatically be started and killed.
Vimrunner.start do |vim|
  vim.edit "file.txt"
  vim.insert "Hello"
  vim.write
end
# Vim will automatically be started but you must manually kill it when you are
# finished.
vim = Vimrunner.start
vim.edit "file.txt"
vim.insert "Hello"
vim.write
vim.kill

Vimrunner will attempt to start up the most suitable version of Vim available, meaning one of the following:

If you wish to always start a GUI Vim (viz. skip using a headless vim) then you can use start_gvim like so:

Vimrunner.start_gvim do |vim|
  # ...
end

If you require an even more specific version of Vim, you can pass the path to it by instantiating your own Server instance like so:

Vimrunner::Server.new("/path/to/my/specific/vim").start do |vim|
  vim.edit "file.txt"
end

(You can also use the non-block form of start in both of the above examples.)

Calling start (or start_gvim) will return a Client instance with which you can control Vim. For a full list of methods you can invoke on the remote Vim instance, check out the Client documentation.

Testing

If you're using Vimrunner for testing vim plugins, take a look at the documentation for the Vimrunner::Testing module. It contains a few simple helpers that may make it a bit easier to write regression tests in rspec. With them, it could work something like this:

require 'spec_helper'
require 'vimrunner/testing'

describe "My Vim plugin" do
  let(:vim) { some_instance_of_vim }

  around :each do |example|
    # needed only once for any Vim instance:
    vim.add_plugin(File.expand_path('../my_plugin_path'), 'plugin/my_plugin.vim')

    # ensure a clean temporary directory for each test:
    Vimrunner::Testing.tmpdir(vim) do
      example.call
    end
  end

  specify "some behaviour" do
    Vimrunner::Testing.write_file('test.rb', <<-EOF)
      def foo
        bar
      end
    EOF

    vim.edit 'test.rb'
    do_plugin_related_stuff_with(vim)
    vim.write

    IO.read('test.rb').should eq Vimrunner::Testing.normalize_string_indent(<<-EOF)
      def bar
        foo
      end
    EOF
  end
end

It's possible to make this a lot more concise by including Vimrunner::Testing, by making your own helper methods that wrap common behaviour, by extracting some code to spec_helper.rb, and so on.

Requirements

Vim needs to be compiled with +clientserver. This should be available with the normal, big and huge featuresets or by using MacVim on Mac OS X. In order to start a server without a GUI, you will also need +xterm-clipboard as described in the Vim manual.

The client/server functionality (regrettably) needs a running X server to function, even without a GUI. This means that if you're using it for automated tests on a remote server, you'll probably need to start it with Xvfb.

If you are using MacVim, note that you will need the mvim binary in your PATH in order to start and communicate with Vim servers.

Experimenting

The vimrunner executable opens up an irb session with $vim set to a running gvim (or mvim) client. You can use this for interactive experimentation. A few things you can try:

$vim.edit 'some_file_name'  # edit a file
$vim.insert 'Hello, World!' # enter insert mode and write some text
$vim.normal 'T,'            # go back to the nearest comma
$vim.type 'a<cr>'           # append a newline after the comma
$vim.write                  # write file to disk