Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mating Vi IMproved with Visual C++, part I

Maybe it's because it is an Integrated Development Environment, but Visual C++ seems to be a little lacking in its handling of external editors (at least in the express edition I have avail). It seems the best way to get MSVC to work with Vi IMproved for editing files, is to right click on a file in the solution explorer docklet, and click "Open with". From there one can specify a program to open the file with and force it as the default editor; the down side is the bloody thing seems to reject the concept of command line arguments.

As such, I created a new win32 application in the IDE, and stripped the fundamental code down to the following

#define GVIM_EXE    _T("P:/Editors/Vim/vim-personal/gvim.exe")
#define GVIM_ARGS   _T("--servername"), _T("MSVC"), _T("--remote-tab-silent")

_tWinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance, HINSTANCE hPrevInstance,
          LPTSTR lpCmdLine, int nCmdShow)

    _texecl(GVIM_EXE, _T("gvim"), GVIM_ARGS, lpCmdLine, NULL);

    return 0;

Which means I get one instance of Vim running and double clicking files in the solution explorer, will open a new tab in the GVim window; gotta love an editor with a client-server feature hehe.

I have Michael Graz's visual_studio.vim installed along with the required python for windows extensions. The plugin loads and appears to be exactly the *first* vim plugin that I can actually find a purpose for using! Except for one small problem.... the plugin can't seem to chatter with the running instance of Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition!

Of course, I could likely jerry rig vim's :make command to invoke vcbuild for me without much trouble.

Heh, and just for the heck of it, I wonder if a similar plugin could be written for other IDEs, like Code::Blocks, XCode, and KDevelop?

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