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boxdraw : Draw diagrams and tables using boxdrawing characters

 script karma  Rating 48/23, Downloaded by 3847  Comments, bugs, improvements  Vim wiki

created by
Andrew Nikitin
 
script type
utility
 
description
Summary
-------
* Draw diagrams and tables using "real box drawing characters" (AKA ANSI
art).
* Move rectangular/linear blocks of text around.
* Trace box-drawing typeset diagrams -- follow the lines, etc.

Detailed description
--------------------
These scripts facilitate drawing simple 'ANSI' graphic containing box
drawing characters (not just '+', '-' and '|', but REAL box drawing
characters).  It can be useful to draw diagrams and fancy tables (at
least, I use it this way).

Upon sourcing the script defines several macros:

<shift+arrow> -- moves cursor in specified direction leaving trail of
box drawing characters, making all joins and crossings.
g+<arrow> -- follow line of boxdrawing characters until it reaches
intersection or ends.
<shift+arrow> in visual mode -- move selected rectangular block in
specified direction.
\e -- ends box drawing mode (unmap shift+arrows macros and restore
virtualedit value)
\b -- restarts box drawing (map shift+arrows macros and set virtual
      edit=all)
\s -- selects 'single-line' boxdrawing characters
\d -- selects 'double-line' boxdrawing characters
\a -- convert all characters in selection into ascii '+', '-', '|' (utf8
      only, not implemented)
("\" prefix may be changed by changing mapleader variable, see :h mapleader)

When rectangular block is selected, it can be moved around using
<shift-arrow> keys. Unfortunately, as of version 6.1 multibyte
characters and rectangular blocks do not live together too good, so this
feature is experimental.

When line block is selected, <shift-up> and <shift-down> moves it up or down
nondestructively, <shift-left> decreases indent and <shift-up> increases
indent.

Currently box drawing is supported for utf8 and cp437 (DOS) encodings.

Script does not use any "weird" box drawing characters from unicode set
that are not present in, say, cp437. So, it is safe to save utf-8 file
in any single byte encoding that contains regular single box drawing
characters.
This script also contains mapping that converts all boxdrawing
characters in current selection into ascii '+', '-', '|'.

If vim encoding is single byte, this script assumes cp437 (DOS). Most
encodings have boxdrawing characters at the same place, however, some
(notably, koi8-r) have them in different code postions.
If you want to use it with encoding that contains such
characters in diferent place, please drop me a note -- I will be happy
to add support for that codepage too.

To help you determine which boxdrawing characters are suppored by your
terminal I have included file sampler.txt. Just type it (or cat it) on
the termianal and encoding that labels the block that looks "right" will
be your supported encoding.

Note for PuTTY users
--------------------

It turns out that PuTTY does not translate Shift+Arrow combination into
X key code (like xterm does), so mappings will not work for this
terminal. I have modified initialization script to use <arrows> instead
of <shift>+<arrows> in Unix environment.

Perl scripts
------------

Some box-drawing related procedures are more naturally done with
external scripts. These scripts take ascii standard input and produce
utf8 encoded standard output.

bdua2b.pl -- converts regular '+-|'-style drawing into single-line utf8
  boxdrawing. This script has does not just blindly replace characters,
  but instead looks to the neighbourhood and chooses boxdrawing
  character that fits best. Use this script as a filter to convert
  existing ascii drawings.
  Option -ss selects single border characters, -sd -- double border,
  -sh -- single vertical double horizontal, -sv single horizontal double
  vertical.

outline.pl -- outlines groups of similar characters in the input with
  boxdrawing characters. Option -d makes output twice as wide, options
  -s* select boxdrawing flavor as in previous script.
  For example,

  aaaacc
  abbcc
  ccbbc
  cccb

will be converted into

  ┌───┬─┐
  │┌─┬┘┌┘
  ├┴┐└┐│
  │ └┐├┘
  └──┴┘

or

  ┌───────┬───┐
  │ ┌───┬─┘ ┌─┘
  ├─┴─┐ └─┐ │
  │   └─┐ ├─┘
  └─────┴─┘


Both scripts were tested with ActivePerl 5.6.1.

Plans:
------
* Support double boxes in a cleaner way.

Installation
------------
Copy boxdraw.vim to the place where you normally keep vim scripts (e.g. ~/.vim
or c:\vim\vimfiles) and source it every time you want to draw a diagram or nice
table.

You may wish also to add this to your menu by adding a line to your .gvimrc
(_gvimrc) file (use actual path to boxdraw.vim):
:menu Tools.Bo&x\ Draw :so ~/.vim/boxdraw.vim<CR>

Environment
-----------
I run Windows and use boxdraw.vim in gvim (it supports utf-8 very
nicely) and bd-single in vim (its support of utf-8 is kind of unclear
for me). Both major Windows monospaced fonts (Courier New and Lucida
Console) support wide range of Unicode characters, including box
drawing.

Why use box drawing characters?
-------------------------------
These characters are in Unicode standard for compatibility with wide
range of existing 8-bit encodings that have them. The wording of Unicode
standard discourages usage of such characters, other than for the
purpose of converting between encodigns and storage of legacy data.
Having said all that I found that sometimes a picture, even crude and
primitive, is worth pages of explanations. Just about the only way to
include picture in source code is to use ascii or "ansi" art. Ascii is
more compatible, but "ansi" looks way better. Since I have to use
Unicode to include cyrillic characters in comments anyway, I decided to
stop on "ansi" art as a format of choice for in-source drawings.

Author
------
Andrew Nikitin <nsg21@hotmail.com>
 
install details
Copy boxdraw.vim to the place where you normally keep vim scripts (e.g. ~/.vim
or c:\vim\vimfiles) and source it every time you want to draw a diagram or nice
table.

You may wish also to add this to your menu by adding a line to your .gvimrc
(_gvimrc) file (use actual path to boxdraw.vim):
:menu Tools.Bo&x\ Draw :so ~/.vim/boxdraw.vim<CR>

I run Windows and use boxdraw.vim in gvim (it supports utf-8 very
nicely) and bd-single in vim (its support for utf-8 is kind of unclear
to me).
 

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script versions (upload new version)

Click on the package to download.

package script version date Vim version user release notes
boxdraw.zip 1.1 2008-12-17 6.0 Andrew Nikitin special processing for line-block movements, changed cabbr for perl
boxdraw.zip 1.0 2004-11-26 6.0 Andrew Nikitin combined single-byte and utf8 versions, included sampler.txt to help determine encoding
boxdraw.zip 0.4 2004-06-18 6.0 Andrew Nikitin following the lines, updated perl scripts
boxdraw.zip 0.3 2003-11-25 6.0 Andrew Nikitin perl scripts + some rectangular block movements
boxdraw.zip 0.2 2002-01-30 6.0 Andrew Nikitin support for single-byte encoding, box->ascii conversion
boxdraw.zip 0.1 2002-01-10 6.0 Andrew Nikitin Double boxeswere added. Still only utf-8.
boxdraw.vim 0.0 2002-01-09 6.0 Andrew Nikitin Initial upload
ip used for rating: 54.156.39.245

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