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EditSimilar : Commands to edit files with a similar filename.

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created by
Ingo Karkat
script type
Files edited in Vim often relate to one another; maybe they just differ in
file extensions, are numbered sequentially, or contain common patterns. One
can use the built-in cmdline-completion  or filename-modifiers like %:r to
quickly edit a similar file, or even use special plugins, e.g. to alternate
between source and header files (vimscript #31).

This plugin provides custom versions of
the|:edit|,|:view|,|:split|,|:vsplit|,|:sview|,|:file|,|:write| and|:saveas|
commands which facilitate quick and simple editing of similarly named files.
To quickly edit another file based on the current file, one can:
- substitute {old} with {new}                      EditSimilar-substitutions
- go to previous/next numbered file or                    EditSimilar-offset
  add any offset to the number
- go to succeeding / preceding files in the same directory  EditSimilar-next
- change the file extension                                 EditSimilar-root

To open a set of similar files, it is possible to:
- open all files matching a pattern in split windows     EditSimilar-pattern

- The PatternsOnText.vim plugin (vimscript #4602) applies the
  {text}={replacement} of :EditSubstitute via :substitute to the text in the
  buffer with :SubstituteWildcard.

- altr (vimscript #4202) lets you set up custom (per-filetype) rules and then
  opens related files through two forward / backward mappings, e.g. allowing
  you to open the autoload file from the plugin.
- nextfile (vimscript #4698) has definitions of related files (like Rails
  controllers, views, model, tests), and can edit a next file via a mapping.
- projectile (https://github.com/tpope/vim-projectile) allows you to define
  per-project settings and navigation commands, e.g. :Eplugin and :Edoc.
- unimpaired.vim (vimscript #1590) has (among many other, largely unrelated)
  [f / ]f mappings that work like :EditPrevious / :EditNext.

Change all occurrences via {text}={replacement} in the currently edited file
(modeled after the Korn shell's "cd {old} {new}" command). This can also be
achieved with the built-in filename-modifiers:
    :edit %:gs?pattern?replacement?
but the syntax is difficult to memorize (it's subtly different from :s) and
harder to type (because one has to use regular expressions instead of the
simpler file wildcards).

:EditSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:ViewSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:SplitSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:VSplitSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:SViewSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:DiffSplitSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]
                        Replaces all literal occurrences of {text} in the
                        currently edited file with {replacement}, and opens the
                        resulting file. If all substitutions can be made on the
                        filename, the pathspec is left alone (so you don't get
                        any false replacements on a long pathspec). Otherwise,
                        the substitutions that weren't applicable to the
                        filename are done to the full absolute pathspec.
                        Finally, substitutions spanning both pathspec and
                        filename are made.

                        By taking advantage of these substitution scopes, you
                        can substitute occurrences in both path and filename
                        by specifying the same substitution twice:
                            :EditSubstitute test=prod
                            :EditSubstitute test=prod test=prod
                       Or perform different substitutions on filename and
                            :EditSubstitute test=prod test=production
                       Or across the entire filespec: >
                            :EditSubstitute superapp/test=normalapp/prod

                       Both {text} and {replacement} can include the usual
                        file wildcards (?, *, ** and [...], cp. file-pattern)
                        to save typing; however, the file-pattern must resolve
                        to exactly one filespec, as the underlying Ex commands
                        can only open a single file.
                            :EditSubstitute test=p* test=p*
                            :EditSubstitute **=/tmp [01]=X
                       Add [!] to create a new file when the substituted file
                        does not exist.
                        With the special {text}=?{replacement} syntax, you can
                        define optional substitutions that if done don't count
                        yet as a successful substitution; another
                        {text2}={replacement2} must still happen (to edit the
                        file / create a new file with [!]). This allows you to
                        define switch commands that only happen when the
                        crucial substitution can be done, yet still do other
                        adaptations as well.

:FileSubstitute {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:[range]WriteSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]

:SaveSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]
                        Replaces all occurrences of {text} in the currently
                        edited file with {replacement}, and sets / writes the
                        resulting file. Wildcards can be used here, too.
                        The [!] is needed to overwrite an existing file.

:BDeleteSubstitute[!] {text}={replacement} [{text}={replacement} [...]]
                        Replaces all occurrences of {text} in the currently
                        edited file with {replacement}, and deletes the
                        resulting buffer. Wildcards can be used here, too.
                        The [!] is needed to delete a changed buffer.

Add an offset to the last (decimal) number in the currently edited file.

:[N]EditPlus[!] [N]
:[N]EditMinus[!] [N]

:[N]ViewPlus[!] [N]
:[N]ViewMinus[!] [N]

:[N]SplitPlus[!] [N]
:[N]SplitMinus[!] [N]

:[N]VSplitPlus[!] [N]
:[N]VSplitMinus[!] [N]

:[N]SViewPlus[!] [N]
:[N]SViewMinus[!] [N]

:[N]DiffSplitPlus[!] [N]
:[N]DiffSplitMinus[!] [N]
                        Increases / decreases the last number found inside the
                        full absolute filespec of the currently edited file by
                        [N]. This works best on fixed-width numbers which are
                        padded with leading zeros: 001, 011, 123, etc.
                        If a file with that number does not exist, the
                        substitution is retried with larger (no [N]) or
                        smaller ([N] given) offsets, unless [!] is specified.
                        This way, you can easily skip to the last / first
                        numbered file by specifying a sufficiently large [N],
                        (e.g. :99EditPlus), while zooming over gaps in the
                        numbering via a simple :EditPlus.
                        With [!], no skipping over non-existing numbers takes
                        place; instead, a new file is created when the
                        substituted file does not exist.
                        When jumping to previous numbers, the resulting number
                        will never be negative. A jump with [!] and [N] > 1 will
                        create a file with number 1, not 0, but you can still
                        create number 0 by repeating the command with [N] = 1.
                        test007.txt in a directory also containing 003-013.
                        :EditPlus      -> test008.txt
                        :99EditPlus    -> test013.txt
                        :99EditPlus!   -> test106.txt [New File]
                        :99Eprev       -> test003.txt
                        :99Eprev!      -> test001.txt [New File]
                        :EditPlus      -> test003.txt

:[N]FilePlus[!] [N]
:[N]FileMinus[!] [N]

:[range]WritePlus[!] [N]
:[range]WriteMinus[!] [N]

:[N]SavePlus[!] [N]
:[N]SaveMinus[!] [N]
                        Increases / decreases the last number found inside the
                        full absolute filespec of the currently edited file by
                        [N] and sets / writes that file. (A fixed number width
                        via padding with leading zeros is maintained.)
                        When [N] is given and no [!] is given, an existing
                        file with an offset of [N] or smaller is searched, and
                        if such an offset is found, that offset incremented by
                        one is used. This lets you use a large [N] to write
                        the file with the next number within [N] for which no
                        file exists yet.
                        When [!] is given, the file with the added offset is
                        written, plain and simple. [!] is also needed to
                        overwrite an existing file.
                        test007.txt in a directory also containing 003-013.
                        :WritePlus     -> file exists
                        :WritePlus!    -> test008.txt
                        :WritePlus 99  -> test014.txt [New File]
                        :WritePlus! 99 -> test106.txt [New File]

:[N]BDeletePlus[!] [N]
:[N]BDeleteMinus[!] [N]
                        Increases / decreases the last number found inside the
                        full absolute filespec of the currently edited file by
                        [N] and deletes that buffer.

In the directory listing of the current file, go to succeeding / preceding
file entries.

:[N]EditNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]EditPrevious[!] [{filelist}]

:[N]ViewNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]ViewPrevious[!] [{filelist}]

:[N]SplitNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]SplitPrevious[!] [{filelist}]

:[N]VSplitNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]VSplitPrevious[!] [{filelist}]

:[N]SViewNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]SViewPrevious[!] [{filelist}]

:[N]DiffSplitNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]DiffSplitPrevious[!] [{filelist}]
                        From the files in the same directory as the current
                        file, go to a succeeding / preceding one. If
                        {filelist} is specified (typically not via separate
                        files, but a file glob like foo*.txt), only those
                        files matching the glob are considered. Otherwise,
                        is used, i.e. all files not starting with "." are
                        considered. To consider really all files, pass .*
                        The 'wildignore' setting applies; matching files are
                        ignored, as well as any subdirectories.
                        The order of files is determined by the order in
                        {filelist} and the operating system / file system's
                        resolution of the glob, as elsewhere in Vim.
                        The current buffer must be contained in {filelist} for
                        the commands to work.

:[N]BDeleteNext[!] [{filelist}]
:[N]BDeletePrevious[!] [{filelist}]
                        Delete a succeeding / preceding buffer.

Change the file extension in the currently edited file. This is an enhanced
version of the built-in:
    :edit %:r.{extension}

:EditRoot[!] {extension}

:ViewRoot[!] {extension}

:SplitRoot[!] {extension}

:VSplitRoot[!] {extension}

:SViewRoot[!] {extension}

:DiffSplitRoot[!] {extension}
                        Switches the current file's extension:
                        Edits a file with the current file's path and name, but
                        replaces the file extension with the passed one. The
                        leading '.' in {extension} is optional; use either
                        .txt or txt. To get a file without an extension, use .
                            :EditRoot .
                       To replace (or remove) multiple extensions, prepend a
                        . for each one:
                            :EditRoot ..cpp

                        The {extension} can include the usual file wildcards
                        (?, *, cp. file-pattern) to save typing; however, the
                        file-pattern must resolve to exactly one existing
                        file, as the underlying Ex commands can only open one
                        single file.

                        Add [!] to create a new file when the substituted file
                        does not exist.

:FileRoot {extension}

:[range]WriteRoot[!] {extension}

:SaveRoot[!] {extension}
                        Sets / saves a file with the current file's path and
                        name, but replaces the file extension with the passed
                        The [!] is needed to overwrite an existing file.

:BDeleteRoot[!] {extension}
                        Deletes a buffer with a different file extension.

Open all files matching the file-pattern (actually a file glob) in split
windows, similar to how |:argadd|{name} adds all matching files to the
argument list.

:SplitPattern [++opt] [+cmd] {file-pattern} [{file-pattern} ...]

:VSplitPattern [++opt] [+cmd] {file-pattern} [{file-pattern} ...]

:SViewPattern [++opt] [+cmd] {file-pattern} [{file-pattern} ...]

:DiffSplitPattern [++opt] [+cmd] {file-pattern} [{file-pattern} ...]
                        Open all files matching {file-pattern} in split windows.
                        If one of the files is already open, no second split is
                        The {file-pattern} can include the usual file wildcards
                        (?, *, cp. file-pattern).
                        Makes all windows the same size if more than one has
                        been opened.

:BDeletePattern {file-pattern} [{file-pattern} ...]
                        Delete all buffers matching {file-pattern}.

:SaveOverBufferAs[!] [++opt] {file}
                        Like :saveas, but with [!] also suppresses the
                        E139: "File is loaded in another buffer" error by
                        forcibly deleting the buffer (any unpersisted changes
                        there will be lost). With this plugin, one often
                        (re-)updates similar files that are already loaded in
                        Vim. This command (which is also used in the :Save...
                        commands) avoids the need to issue a separate
                            :BDelete... | Save...

:[range]WriteOverBuffer[!] [++opt] {file}
                        Like :write, but with [!] also suppresses the
                        E139: "File is loaded in another buffer" error by
                        forcibly deleting the buffer (any unpersisted changes
                        there will be lost). Used in the :Write... commands.
install details
The code is hosted in a Git repo at
You can use your favorite plugin manager, or "git clone" into a directory used
for Vim packages. Releases are on the "stable" branch, the latest unstable
development snapshot on "master".

This script is also packaged as a vimball. If you have the "gunzip"
decompressor in your PATH, simply edit the *.vmb.gz package in Vim; otherwise,
decompress the archive first, e.g. using WinZip. Inside Vim, install by
sourcing the vimball or via the :UseVimball command.
    vim EditSimilar*.vmb.gz
    :so %
To uninstall, use the :RmVimball command.

- Requires Vim 7.0 or higher.
- Requires the ingo-library.vim plugin (vimscript #4433), version 1.025 or
- Optional, recommended: cmdalias plugin (vimscript #746)

For a permanent configuration, put the following commands into your vimrc:

All these edit commands are about speed; after all, they vie to be a faster
alternative to the built-in commands that take a complete filename. Each
user's Vim setup and behavior is different. Therefore, the previously defined
short command forms :Esubst, :Enext, etc. are gone in version 1.20. Instead,
you are encouraged to define your own shortcuts, depending on your preferences
and needs. A great way to do this (because it allows the definition of pure
lowercase commands) is defining short aliases through the cmdalias plugin
(vimscript #746), like this:
    " Shorten the most frequently used commands from EditSimilar.vim.
    Alias es  EditSubstitute
    Alias sps SplitSubstitute
    Alias epl EditPlus
    Alias emi EditMinus
    Alias en  EditNext
    Alias ep  EditPrevious
    Alias er  EditRoot
    Alias spr SplitRoot
    Alias spp SplitPattern

All :Split..., :VSplit..., :SView, and :DiffSplit... commands obey the default
'splitbelow' and 'splitright' settings. If you want different behavior, you
can insert the appropriate split modifier command via:
    let g:EditSimilar_splitmode = 'rightbelow'
    let g:EditSimilar_vsplitmode = 'rightbelow'
    let g:EditSimilar_diffsplitmode = 'rightbelow'

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script versions (upload new version)

Click on the package to download.

package script version date Vim version user release notes
EditSimilar-2.50.vmb.gz 2.50 2018-09-24 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Also support optional {text}=?{replacement} that if done don't count yet as a successful substitution; another {text2}={replacement2} must still happen.
- FIX: :SaveOverBufferAs and :WriteOverBuffer don't handle files with spaces. Need to define them with -nargs=+ to keep Vim from unescaping the filespec. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.025! ***
EditSimilar-2.41.vmb.gz 2.41 2014-06-20 7.0 Ingo Karkat - BUG: :{range}WritePlus 999 doesn't actually work, because it executes as 999,999WriteOverBuffer.
- Refactoring: Use ingo#fs#path#Exists(). *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.019! ***
EditSimilar-2.40.vmb.gz 2.40 2014-04-16 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Add :BDelete... comands, which are especially useful for when "E139: File is loaded in another buffer" is given.
- Add :DiffSplit... comands.
- For next files, escape the dirspec for wildcards to handle peculiar directories.
- Allow to :write partial buffer contents by defining -range=% on :Write... commands that do not yet use the count.
- Add :SaveOverBufferAs and :WriteOverBuffer commands (that with [!] also :bdelete an existing buffer with the same name) and use those in the :Save... and :Write... commands.
- All commands now properly abort on error. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.018! ***
EditSimilar-2.32.vmb.gz 2.32 2014-03-13 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Handle dot prefixes (e.g. ".txt") in root completion.
- Also offer multi-extension roots (e.g. ".orig.txt") in root completion, and correctly handle existing roots (e.g. ".orig.t").
- Add workaround for editing via :pedit, which uses the CWD of existing preview window instead of the CWD of the current window; leading to wrong not-existing files being opened when :set autochdir. Work around this by always passing a full absolute filespec. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.017! ***
EditSimilar-2.31.vmb.gz 2.31 2013-11-19 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Minor: Also handle :echoerr errors, which don't have an E... number prepended.
- FIX: Non-any completion can yield duplicate roots, too (e.g. foobar.orig.txt + foobar.txt).
- Add dependency to ingo-library (vimscript #4433). *** You need to separately install ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.014 (or higher)! ***
EditSimilar-2.30.vmb.gz 2.30 2012-12-09 7.0 Ingo Karkat CHG: For :FilePlus, :WritePlus, :SavePlus, when a [count] but no [!] is given, try to create an offset one more than an existing file between the current and the passed offset. This lets you use a large [N] to write the file with the next number within [N] for which no file exists yet. Change inspired by
EditSimilar-2.20.vmb.gz 2.20 2012-08-28 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Allow passing of multiple {file-pattern} to :SplitPattern et al. and enable file completion for them.
- Handle optional ++opt +cmd file options and commands in :SplitPattern et al.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 2.10 2012-07-26 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: Complete file extensions for any files found in the file's directory for those commands that most of the time are used to create new files; the default search for the current filename's extensions won't yield anything there.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 2.01 2012-06-15 7.0 Ingo Karkat FIX: To avoid issues with differing forward slash / backslash path separator components, canonicalize the glob pattern and filespec. This avoids a "Cannot locate current file" error when there is a mismatch.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 2.00 2012-06-11 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Rename the :EditNext / :EditPrevious commands to :EditPlus / :EditMinus and redefine them to operate on directory contents instead of numerical offsets. *** PLEASE USE THE NEW RENAMED COMMANDS AND UPDATE ANY USAGES IN SCRIPTS AND MAPPINGS ***
- Better modularization of the different similarities.
- BUG: Substituted filenames that only exist in an unpersisted Vim buffer cause a "file does not exist" error when a:isCreateNew isn't set. Also check Vim buffers for a match.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.22 2012-02-10 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Allow [v]split mode different than determined by 'splitbelow' / 'splitright' via configuration.
- Refactoring: Move file extension completion to EditSimilar#Root#Complete() and create the root commands also in the command builder.
- ENH: Omit current buffer's file extension from the completion for EditSimilar-root commands.
- Obsolete the short command forms :Esubst, :Enext, :Eprev; the starting uppercase letter makes them still awkward to type, there's more likely a conflict with other custom commands (e.g. :En -> :Encode, :Enext), and I now believe aliasing via cmdalias.vim is the better way to provide personal shortcuts, instead of polluting the command namespace with all these duplicates.
- Rename :Vsplit... -> :VSplit... and :Sview... -> :SView... as I think this is a more intuitive long form. (And now that the user is encouraged to create his own custom short aliases, anyway.) The only other plugin with similar commands that I know is bufexplorer with its :VSBufExplorer.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.19 2011-07-25 7.0 Ingo Karkat Avoid that :SplitPattern usually opens splits in reverse glob order (with default 'nosplitbelow' / 'nosplitright') by forcing :belowright splitting for all splits after the first. I.e. behave more like vim -o {pattern}.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.18 2011-06-23 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: Implement completion of file extensions for EditSimilar-root commands like :EditRoot.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.17 2010-02-25 7.0 Ingo Karkat BUG: :999EditPrevious on 'file00' caused E121: Undefined variable: l:replacement.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.16 2009-11-11 7.0 Ingo Karkat BUG: Next / previous commands interpreted files such as 'C406' as hexadecimal. Thanks to Andy Wokula for sending a patch.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.15 2009-09-09 7.0 Ingo Karkat Offset commands (:EditNext et al.) now check that the digit pattern does not
accidentally match inside a hexadecimal number (which are unsupported).
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.14 2009-08-21 7.0 Ingo Karkat - BF: :[N]EditPrevious with supplied [N] would skip over existing smaller number file and would claim that no substituted file existed.
- BF: :[N]EditPrevious with supplied large [N] together with a low original number hogs the CPU because the loop iterates over the entire number range where the resulting offset would be negative.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.13 2009-06-30 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: :EditNext / :EditPrevious without the optional [count] now skip over gaps
in numbering.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.12 2009-05-13 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: {text} in :EditSubstitute can now also contain file wildcards (?, *, **
  and [...]) to save typing.
- ENH: On Windows, {text} in :EditSubstitute can now also use forward slashes
  as path separators (as an alternative to the usual backslashes).
- ENH: Supporting substitutions spanning both pathspec and filename by finally
  applying failed replacements of multi-path elements to the entire filespec.
- Added ":ViewSimilar" and ":SviewSimilar" commands to open similar files in
  read-only mode.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.10 2009-02-24 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: {replacement} in :EditSubstitute and {extension} in :EditRoot can now
contain file wildcards to save typing.
EditSimilar.vba.gz 1.00 2009-02-18 7.0 Ingo Karkat Initial upload
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