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MessageRecall : Browse and re-insert previous (commit, status) messages.

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created by
Ingo Karkat
script type
This plugin automatically persists (parts of) buffers used for the editing of
commit (or other) messages, where Vim is invoked as the editor from an
external tool. In these buffers, it sets up mappings and commands to iterate
through stored past messages, and recall the contents for use in the currently
edited message. This way, you automatically collect a history of (committed or
aborted) past messages, and can quickly base your current message on contents
recalled from that history.

This plugin is used by:
- VcsMessageRecall.vim (vimscript #4117):
  Browse and re-insert previous VCS commit messages.

The plugin is completely inactive until you set it up for a particular
buffer through the following function; you'll find the details directly in the
.vim/autoload/MessageRecall.vim implementation file.

MessageRecall#Setup( messageStoreDirspec, ... )

After setup, the following mappings and commands are available in the current
message buffer:

CTRL-P, CTRL-N          When the buffer has no unsaved changes: Replace the
                        edited message with a [count]'th previous / next
                        stored message.
                        When the buffer is modified: Open the [count]'th
                        previous / first stored message in the preview window.
                        When the buffer is modified and a stored message is
                        already being previewed: Open the [count]'th previous
                        / next stored message there.

                        View the [count]'th previous stored message in the
:MessageView {message}|{filespec}
                        View {message} (auto-completed from the message store
                        directory) or any arbitrary {filespec} contents
                        in the preview-window.

                        Insert the [count]'th previous stored message below
                        the current line.
:MessageRecall[!] {message}|{filespec}
                        Insert {message} (auto-completed from the message
                        store directory) or any arbitrary {filespec} contents
                        below the current line.

                        When the existing message consists of just empty
                        lines (originating from the message template that the
                        tool invoking Vim has put there), the inserted message
                        replaces those empty lines. With [!]: Replace an
                        existing message with the inserted one.

CTRL-P, CTRL-N          Go to the previous / next stored message.

:MessageRecall          Insert the previewed stored message below the current
                        line in the buffer from which the message preview was

:[N]MessageList         Show all / the last [N] messages in the
                        location-list-window; most recent first. (So the
                        line number directly corresponds to {count} in

:[N]MessageGrep [arguments]
                        Search for [arguments] in all / the last [N] stored
                        messages, and set the location-list to the matches.

:[N]MessageVimGrep [/]{pattern}[/]
                        Search for {pattern} in all / the last [N] stored
                        messages, and set the location-list to the matches.

:MessageStore[!] {dirspec}| {identifier}|N
                        Add the directory {dirspec} as a source (with [!]: set
                        as the sole source) for recalled messages.
                        If message stores have been preconfigured (cp.
                        g:MessageRecall_ConfiguredMessageStores), these can
                        be referenced via their short {identifier} instead, or
                        by the N'th last accessed message store .
:MessageStore           List all message store directories for the current

:[N]MessagePrune[!]     Remove all / the oldest [N] messages from the message
                        store, with [!] without confirmation.
:MessagePrune[!] {fileglob}
                        Remove all files matching {fileglob} from the message
                        store, with [!] without confirmation.
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 MessageRecall*.vmb.gz
    :so %
To uninstall, use the :RmVimball command.

- Requires Vim 7.0 or higher.
- Requires the ingo-library.vim plugin (vimscript #4433), version 1.038 or
- Requires the BufferPersist plugin (vimscript #4115).

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

When you have multiple, related repositories, you may wish to recall messages
from other message stores. Though this is possible via :MessageRecall
path/to/other/message-store, it is tedious, and you cannot browse / preview
them as easily as the ones from the current message store. For this, you can
define additional message stores via:
    let b:MessageRecall_MessageStores = ['', 'path/to/other/message-store']
The empty string stands for the current message store; by omitting it, its
messages won't be offered any more. Note that this only affects recall and
preview; the edited messages are still exclusively persisted to the current
message store.

If you don't want to directly add more message stores, but enable the user to
quickly do so, you can configure additional message stores together with short
identifying names:
    let g:MessageRecall_ConfiguredMessageStores = {
    \   'repo1': '/path/to/repo1/.svn/commit-msgs',
    \   'repo2': '/path/to/repo2/.git/commit-msgs',

If you want to use different mappings, first disable the default key mappings
in your vimrc:
    map <Plug>DisableMessageRecallPreviewPrev <Plug>(MessageRecallPreviewPrev)
    map <Plug>DisableMessageRecallPreviewNext <Plug>(MessageRecallPreviewNext)
    map <Plug>DisableMessageRecallGoPrev      <Plug>(MessageRecallGoPrev)
    map <Plug>DisableMessageRecallGoNext      <Plug>(MessageRecallGoNext)
Since there's no common filetype for this plugin, User events are fired for
each message buffer. You can hook into these events to define alternative
    autocmd User MessageRecallBuffer  map <buffer> <Leader>P <Plug>(MessageRecallGoPrev)
    autocmd User MessageRecallBuffer  map <buffer> <Leader>N <Plug>(MessageRecallGoNext)
    autocmd User MessageRecallPreview map <buffer> <Leader>P <Plug>(MessageRecallPreviewPrev)
    autocmd User MessageRecallPreview map <buffer> <Leader>N <Plug>(MessageRecallPreviewNext)

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script versions (upload new version)

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package script version date Vim version user release notes
MessageRecall-1.30.vmb.gz 1.30 2020-02-24 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Sort the :MessageStore completion candidates for configured message stores by last modification time (instead of alphabetically by identifier), so stores that were recently updated come first.
- ENH: Allow :MessageStore referencing via N count of configured stores, too.
MessageRecall-1.20.vmb.gz 1.20 2018-11-18 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Add :MessageList, :MessageGrep, and :MessageVimGrep commands.
- ENH: Add :MessagePrune.
- Refactoring. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.023! ***
MessageRecall-1.10.vmb.gz 1.10 2014-12-23 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: For :MessageRecall command completion, return the messages from other message stores also in reverse order, so that the latest one comes first.
- ENH: Allow to override / extend the message store(s) via b:MessageRecall_MessageStores configuration.
- Get rid of the dependency to the EditSimilar.vim plugin.
- ENH: Add :MessageStore command that allows to add / replace message stores. Presets can be configured via the new b:MessageRecall_ConfiguredMessageStores variable.
- Use ingo#compat#glob() and ingo#compat#globpath(). *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.022! *** The dependency to the EditSimilar.vim plugin has been dropped.
MessageRecall-1.03.vmb.gz 1.03 2014-04-16 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Adapt to changed EditSimilar.vim interface that returns the success status now. Abort on error for own plugin commands. *** You need to update to EditSimilar.vim (vimscript #2544) version 2.40! ***
MessageRecall-1.02.vmb.gz 1.02 2013-11-21 7.0 Ingo Karkat - CHG: Only replace on <C-p> / <C-n> in the message buffer when the considered range is just empty lines. I came to dislike the previous replacement also when the message had been persisted.
- CHG: On <C-p> / <C-n> in the original message buffer: When the buffer is modified and a stored message is already being previewed, change the semantics of count to be interpreted relative to the currently previewed stored message. Beforehand, one had to use increasing <C-p>, 2<C-p>, 3<C-p>, etc. to iterate through stored messages (or go to the preview window and invoke the mapping there).
- ENH: Allow to override the default <C-p> / <C-n> mappings.
- Add dependency to ingo-library (vimscript #4433). *** You need to separately install ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.012 (or higher)! ***
MessageRecall.vba.gz 1.01 2012-07-12 7.0 Ingo Karkat BUG: Script error E486 when replacing a non-matching commit message buffer.
MessageRecall.vba.gz 1.00 2012-06-25 7.0 Ingo Karkat Initial upload
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