Blog of Christiaan Rademan.

VIM, Plugins and Python ;-)

VI Improved (VIM) is my editor of choice. I prefer to use this as development and scripting IDE. This is also seems to be the general view of the open-source community. VIM is ubiquitous, fast, and never crashes. And it can do just about anything!

Installing VIM

You require vim compiled with Python support.


apt-get install vim-nox-py2



$ brew update
$ brew install vim


$ sudo port update
$ sudo port install vim +huge +python27

VIM Extensions

VIM has several extension managers, but the one I strongly recommend is Vundle. Think of it as pip for VIM. It makes installing and updating packages trivial.

Install Vundle

$ git clone https://github.com/gmarik/Vundle.vim.git ~/.vim/bundle/Vundle.vim

This command downloads the Vundle plugin manager and chucks it in your VIM bundles directory. Now you can manage all your extensions from the .vimrc configuration file.

Add the file to your user’s home directory:

$ touch ~/.vimrc

Now set up Vundle in your .vimrc and some extra plugins using:

set nocompatible " be iMproved, required
filetype off     " required

" set the runtime path to include Vundle and initialize
set rtp+=~/.vim/bundle/Vundle.vim
call vundle#begin()

" let Vundle manage Vundle, required
Plugin 'gmarik/Vundle.vim'

" Add all your plugins here (note older versions of Vundle used Bundle instead of Plugin)
Plugin 'tmhedberg/SimpylFold'
Plugin 'vim-scripts/indentpython.vim'
Bundle 'Valloric/YouCompleteMe'
Plugin 'scrooloose/syntastic'
Plugin 'nvie/vim-flake8'
Plugin 'jnurmine/Zenburn'
Plugin 'altercation/vim-colors-solarized'
Plugin 'Lokaltog/powerline', {'rtp': 'powerline/bindings/vim/'}

" All of your Plugins must be added before the following line
call vundle#end()            " required
filetype plugin indent on    " required

" Enable folding
set foldmethod=indent
set foldlevel=99
" Enable folding with the spacebar
nnoremap <space> za

map <leader>g  :YcmCompleter GoToDefinitionElseDeclaration<CR>
let g:ycm_autoclose_preview_window_after_insertion=1
let g:ycm_add_preview_to_completeopt=1

set encoding=utf-8

syntax on
set tabstop=4
set softtabstop=4
set shiftwidth=4
set expandtab
set autoindent
set fileformat=unix
autocmd FileType python set textwidth=79
autocmd FileType sh nnoremap <F5> :!%:p<CR>
autocmd FileType php nnoremap <F5> :!clear & php %:p<CR>
autocmd FileType python nnoremap <F5> :!clear & python %:p<CR>
autocmd FileType python nnoremap <F5> :!clear & python %:p<CR>
autocmd FileType python nnoremap <F6> :!clear & pudb %:p<CR>
autocmd FileType python map <buffer> <F4> :call Flake8()<CR>
autocmd FileType python imap <F3> <Esc>:YcmCompleter GetDoc<CR>i

set nu
set cursorline
highlight LineNr ctermbg=white ctermfg=black
highlight CursorLineNr ctermbg=darkred ctermfg=black
highlight ExtraWhitespace ctermbg=red guibg=red
match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd BufWinEnter * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd InsertEnter * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+\%#\@<!$/
autocmd InsertLeave * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd BufWinLeave * call clearmatches()

set laststatus=2
hi statusline ctermbg=black ctermfg=grey

let python_highlight_all = 1

if has('gui_running')
    set background=dark
    colorscheme solarized
    colorscheme zenburn

"python with virtualenv support
py << EOF
import os
import sys
if 'VIRTUAL_ENV' in os.environ:
    project_base_dir = os.environ['VIRTUAL_ENV']
    activate_this = os.path.join(project_base_dir, 'bin/activate_this.py')
    execfile(activate_this, dict(__file__=activate_this))

Fire up VIM and run to install all the plugins:


This command tells Vundle to work its magic – downloading all the plugins and installing/updating them for you.

Install YCM - Important for autocomplete

$ cd ~/.vim/bundle/YouCompleteMe
$ ./install.sh

That’s it. You’re now set up!!


Short introductions to above plugins installed...


Plugin 'tmhedberg/SimpylFold'

Most “modern” IDEs provide a way to collapse (or fold) methods and classes, showing you just the class/method definition lines instead of all the code. Use <space bar> or za to hide or unhide class cursor is on.


Plugin 'vim-scripts/indentpython.vim'

Autoindent will help but in some cases (like when a function signature spans multiple lines), it doesn’t always do what you want, especially when it comes to conforming to PEP8 standards. To fix that, we can use the indentpython.vim extension


Bundle 'Valloric/YouCompleteMe'

Under the hood YouCompleteMe uses a few different auto-completers (including Jedi for Python), and it needs some C libraries to be installed for it to work correctly. The docs have very good installation instructions so I won’t repeat them here, but be sure you follow them.

Syntax Checking/Highlighting

Plugin 'scrooloose/syntastic'

Plugin 'nvie/vim-flake8'

You can have VIM check your syntax on each save with the syntastic extension including PEP8 checking.

Color Schemes

Plugin 'jnurmine/Zenburn'

Plugin 'altercation/vim-colors-solarized'

Color schemes work in conjunction with the basic color scheme that you are using. Check out solarized for GUI mode, and Zenburn for terminal mode


Plugin 'Lokaltog/powerline', {'rtp': 'powerline/bindings/vim/'}

Powerline is a status bar that displays things like the current virtualenv, git branch, files being edited, and much more.

It’s written in Python, and it supports a number of other environments like zsh, bash, tmux, and IPython.