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Re: Vim app for iPad

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  • Eric Weir
    Discussion of Vim on the iPad on the vim_use list led me to post the following about the existing Vim app for the iPad. I m forwarding it hear in case anyone
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 4, 2013
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      Discussion of Vim on the iPad on the vim_use list led me to post the following about the existing Vim app for the iPad. I'm forwarding it hear in case anyone here might have thoughts on the topic. I'm wondering if developing this app into a genuinely useful app on the iPad might not be a project along the lines of the MacVim project. 


      On Jan 4, 2013, at 10:16 AM, Eric Weir wrote:

      I changed the subject heading to focus the discussion of Vim on the iPad more specifically on the Vim app for the iPad.

      I hesitate in posting my musings on this topic [1] because I am not in a position myself to do much about them. [2] They may just be completely off-the-wall unrealistic.

      That said, I've decided to see what's possible with the app as it is. I will be going about it slowly, in between other activities. 

      In the meantime, it's noteworthy that the developer has released the code for the project and has placed it on its github repository. That and comments made by some of the raters in the App Store make wonder if more is not possible with this app. E.g., one rater suggests a key remapping to make the escape key readily accessible. Another rater suggests several features that would make the app much more attractive:

      • Extended Ctrl, Esc, Tab, colon and user set-able quick keys for Leader, back ticks, etc.
      • Default support for standard .vimrc and .vim plugins
      • iOS copy/paste support 
      • Dropbox syncing.

      Developers of other editors have added a row of essential keys to the default iPad virtual keyboard. 

      With iTunes it's supposed to be possible to drag 'n drop files between the iPad and another device. I see how to add files to the iPad. I don't see how to access the app folder on the IPad so that files could be moved to the other device.

      Again, I'm almost ashamed to be commenting to this effect, since I couldn't contribute anything, but given the above and what I've seen done with other iPad apps, e.g., the diverse provisions for moving/syncing files between an iPad and another device in PDF Expert, I wonder if an individual, an organization, or a group couldn't take on the task of making this app genuinely useful for the iPad, along the lines of what was done to create MacVim.

      Regards,
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Eric Weir

      "With an ounce of willingness, everything can change."

      - Kim

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      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Eric Weir
      Decatur, GA  USA




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    • Eric Weir
      ... Thanks, Bee. I m encouraged by your response. I m curious: Are you able to see what s on the iOS device from iTunes? Comments by the developers of Vim for
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 4, 2013
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        On Jan 4, 2013, at 11:34 AM, Bee wrote:

        > I used iTunes to put .vim .vimrc and .gvimrc on an iPhone for Vim app
        > to use. It is working quite well.
        >
        > The .gvimrc has only:
        > set guifont=Courier:h18
        > As the default font on iPhone is too small.
        >
        > The .vimrc is a tiny version of what I use on Mac, Linux and Windows.
        > If you like I will post it here.
        >
        > I also used iTunes to upload several 'reference' files with info I
        > need remotely. These files are big enough that other iPhone editors
        > are too slow and do not have the search capability.
        >
        > I use :E to look around the ios (not jailbroke) file structure.
        > :help :Explore
        >
        > I have reported a few bugs, and DropBox support is talked about.
        >
        > I also hope to see an update.

        Thanks, Bee. I'm encouraged by your response. I'm curious: Are you able to see what's on the iOS device from iTunes? Comments by the developers of Vim for the iPad suggest it should be possible, but I'm not finding a way.

        You speak about iPhone editors. What can be done with them? Navigate to files on the device? Move files in and out? Shouldn't these work on the iPad, too? Might there be enhanced versions of them around somewhere?

        I'm lead to believe---don't ask me by what---that all the files needed by Vim and all documents created with it are contained in a single app folder on the iPad. If so, is it possible to put folders in there? And if folders, plugins?

        Regards,
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Eric Weir
        eeweir@...

        "The invincible shield of caring
        Is a weapon sent from the sky
        against being dead."

        - Tao Te Ching 67







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      • Eric Weir
        ... I used to use with my installation on the MacBook, until I started using the sessions plugin. Most of my writing in vim is in vimwiki, so I don t need to
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 5, 2013
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          On Jan 4, 2013, at 11:34 AM, Bee wrote:

          > I use :E to look around the ios (not jailbroke) file structure.
          > :help :Explore

          I used to use with my installation on the MacBook, until I started using the sessions plugin. Most of my writing in vim is in vimwiki, so I don't need to access files outside vimwiki very often.

          But I did as you suggested in the Vim for iPad app. Not sure where I went from the iPad into the Vim app, but definitely inside the Vim app there is a very complex file structure. Looks to me like plugins could be used.

          I am handicapped at the moment without the key mappings, which I was given by folks on vim_use shortly after getting started with vim. I never really learned the actual vim commands. I guess it's time.

          Regards,
          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Eric Weir
          Decatur, GA USA
          eeweir@...




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        • Bee
          ... Yes. In iTunes, specific apps are listed and you can transfer to/from them. Many apps have DropBox support, which to me, is preferable. ... Most are for
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 5, 2013
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            >Thanks, Bee. I'm encouraged by your response.
            >I'm curious:
            >Are you able to see what's on the iOS device from iTunes?

            Yes. In iTunes,
            specific apps are listed and you can transfer to/from them.
            Many apps have DropBox support, which to me, is preferable.

            >You speak about iPhone editors.

            Most are for both iPhone and iPad, hence...
            I will refer to all as ios editors.

            Vim is my favorite, this IS the first version, although it works
            amazingly well, it needs DropBox support, system clipboard
            integration and a few bug fixes.

            Other free editors: DraftPad, Nebulous Lite, LocNotes, Nocs are
            quite good. They usually have DropBox support and use the system
            clipboard.

            Another editor called 'free writing' is quite experimental, some
            interesting ideas but difficult for me to use. I like its custom
            keyboard.

            >What can be done with them?

            The iPhone's on screen keyboard is tiny, but I can take notes,
            compose responses to vim_use, vim_mac... it is easier with an
            editor than in a web browser text box.

            These things are not possible, yet, with ios vim because it does
            not have a way to use the system clipboard for copy and paste,
            even though :ve shows +clipboard.

            I have compiled reference files I use to support my client's
            systems and networks. ios vim will open very large files quickly
            and is able to use regex search. Whereas ANY other ios editor I
            have tried is extremely slow doing the same task, most do not
            have a search, and none I have yet found have regex search.

            With ios vim I can also edit those files and create new ones.

            Bad news: those files, currently, are not accessible by anyother ios
            app.
            Good news: those files, currently, are not accessible by anyother ios
            app.

            That is to say they are out of sight, so if the iPhone is lost,
            there is little chance a casual iPhone user would even know of
            their existence.

            It is even possible to open encrypted vim files transferred from my
            Mac.

            >Navigate to files on the device?

            Yes, I can navigate anywhere on the device, read files, but this
            iPhone is NOT jailbroke, so I do not have write access. When I
            did 'look around', I felt more comfortable with the ios,
            knowing it is truly unix.

            >Move files in and out? Shouldn't these work on the iPad, too?

            Yes, any ios device... iPad or iPhone are the same.

            >Might there be enhanced versions of them around somewhere?

            There are MANY editors for ios.
            There is rumor of Microsoft Word for ios.
            Apple has Pages for ios. The Mac version of Pages is excellent!
            I have not yet downloaded it, but iText Pro, one of my favorite
            simple word processors for the Mac, has an ios version called
            iText Pad.

            There are also several spreadsheets for ios.

            >I'm lead to believe---don't ask me by what---that all the files
            >needed by Vim and all documents created with it are contained
            >in a single app folder on the iPad. If so, is it possible to
            >put folders in there? And if folders, plugins?

            As I understand, yes, all files are in the ios vim app 'package'.

            I have added these to ios vim using iTunes:
            .vim - this is a folder containing plugins...
            .vimrc - the vim preference file
            .gvimrc - the gui vim preference file, and ios vim IS 'gui'

            The .vimrc is similar to what I use on Mac, Linux and Windows:
            relative line numbers, incsearch, ignorecase
            autoindent, nosmartindent, expandtab, smarttab,
            tabstop=1, shiftwidth=1, because iPhone display is tiny
            mappings for easier navigation within a file
            nmap <lf> <cr> to ease unix system file navigation

            The .gvimrc:
            set guifont=Courier:h18
            because the default font for iPhone is too small.

            I have not found any ios vim specific documentation, but have
            played enough to find one and two finger gestures.

            It is possible to use a bluetooth keyboard with the iPhone,
            but I do not have one, and I am curious what can be done
            with the minimum. The small screen is very tiring to view but...

            ios vim is amazingly usable, with DropBox and clipboard support
            it will be the best editor I have tried for ios, but it may be
            that I am just a HAPPY vim user on Mac, Linux, Windows, and now
            ios :)

            Bill

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          • Bee
            This is my .vimrc for ios vim. I used the short form for all settings, just cause... iPhone is small. :) Bill 23456789012345678901234567890123456789012 se
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 5, 2013
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              This is my .vimrc for ios vim.
              I used the short form for all settings,
              just 'cause... iPhone is small. :)
              Bill

              "23456789012345678901234567890123456789012
              se nocp nobk noswf nowrap
              se is ic scs rnu
              se ts=1 sw=1 et ai si sta
              se nf-=octal nf+=alpha
              se cb^=unnamedplus,unnamed
              se lcs+=tab:\|-
              nm F :bn!<cr>
              nm Q :ls!<cr>:b
              nm W :e! $MYVIMRC<cr>
              nm T <pageup>
              nm t <pagedown>
              "nm <space> m'<pagedown> "space space bug?
              nm <lf> <cr>
              im & <esc>
              ino <bslash> <bslash>
              vm A y`>a<space>=<space><c-r>=<c-r>"<cr>
              "set guifont=Courier:h18 ".gvimrc

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            • Eric Weir
              ... Thanks, Bee. When I select Vim from the apps set up for sharing on iTunes, click on the add button and select a file on the MacBook, and then click on the
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 5, 2013
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                On Jan 5, 2013, at 10:37 AM, Bee wrote:

                >> I'm curious:
                >> Are you able to see what's on the iOS device from iTunes?
                >
                > Yes. In iTunes,
                > specific apps are listed and you can transfer to/from them.
                > Many apps have DropBox support, which to me, is preferable.

                Thanks, Bee.

                When I select Vim from the apps set up for sharing on iTunes, click on the add button and select a file on the MacBook, and then click on the Save to... button, Finder does not show the iPad as a connected device. I don't see any way to navigate to it.

                If I could get a modified .vimrc on the iPad the Vim app would be a lot more useable for me.

                The iPad is connected to the MacBook by the usb cable.

                ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Eric Weir
                eeweir@...

                "The invincible shield of caring
                Is a weapon sent from the sky
                against being dead."

                - Tao Te Ching 67







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              • Bee
                ... You will need to make a copy of your .vimrc , re-name it v , and save it to the desktop. You need this step because the Mac file open dialog will not see
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 5, 2013
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                  On Jan 5, 1:40 pm, Eric Weir <eew...@...> wrote:
                  > When I select Vim from the apps set up for sharing on iTunes,
                  > click on the add button and select a file on the MacBook, and
                  > then click on the Save to... button, Finder does not show the
                  > iPad as a connected device. I don't see any way to navigate to
                  > it.

                  You will need to make a copy of your '.vimrc',
                  re-name it 'v', and save it to the desktop.

                  You need this step because the Mac file open dialog
                  will not see the .vimrc file because it is a unix hidden file.

                  When you get it on the ios device you will need to
                  re-name it back to '.vimrc'.

                  Now:
                  + connect ios device to the Mac with usb
                  + open iTunes
                  + click on the ios device mounting icon
                  + at the bottom click the vim icon
                  + click the Add... button, you will NOT use 'Save to...' button
                  + use the file open dialog to browse to your 'v' file
                  + select it and click Open

                  The 'v' file will show in the list above the Add... button and
                  it has been transferred to the ios device.

                  You do not use the 'Save to...' button when transferring to the
                  ios device, only when transferring from the ios device to Mac.

                  Note:
                  strings in '...' single quotes are to be typed LITERALLY
                  but without the single quotes.

                  Now for the tricky part:
                  + open vim on the ios device
                  + type this LITERALLY 'nm <lf> <cr>' then press return
                  - that will map linefeed to carriage return
                  + type ':E' then press return (note uppercase 'E')
                  + you should now be browsing the file system and
                  - see the 'v' file
                  + use two fingers to scroll and hide keyboard
                  + use one finger to select the 'v' file
                  + select the 'v' file and type 'R' for Rename
                  + delete the 'v' and type '.vimrc'
                  - because you do not have cursor keys
                  + use two fingers to scroll and hide keyboard
                  + use one finger to select the '.vimrc' file
                  - then press return
                  + you should now be back in vim looking at your .vimrc file!
                  + add 'nm <lf> <cr>' to your '.vimrc' file

                  Bill

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                • Eric Weir
                  ... Bill, I am not certain it was you, but I believe that when I responded to the above to the effect that I didn t see how to navigate on my iPad from within
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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                    On Jan 4, 2013, at 11:34 AM, Bee wrote:

                    > I used iTunes to put .vim .vimrc and .gvimrc on an iPhone for Vim app
                    > to use. It is working quite well.

                    Bill,

                    I am not certain it was you, but I believe that when I responded to the above to the effect that I didn't see how to navigate on my iPad from within iTunes on my MacBook you responded with detailed instructions and the code from your .vimrc for my consideration in configuring Vim for the iPad.

                    I had to give my MacBook up for repairs a week ago and just got it back this afternoon. I thought I had saved your message in a safe place---my email is IMAP, and I'm still a little vague about how operations on messages on one machine affect the other machine---and was looking forward to giving the instructions. Unfortunately, it appears between restoring my setup on my MacBook and my vagueness about IMAP the message got deleted.

                    If it was you who wrote to me, and if you still have a copy of the message, I wonder if you'd be willing to resend it.

                    My apologies for not being more careful.

                    Thanks,
                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Eric Weir
                    Decatur, GA
                    eeweir@...

                    "You keep on learning and learning, and pretty soon you learn
                    something no one has learned before." - Richard Feynman

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