Vrapper Vim-like editing in Eclipse

Sunday, September 05 2010 @ 05:23 PM CEST

Contributed by: Jerry Rocteur

Since I've been working with UNIX I have always used vi and later vim as my main editor until recently when I started programming in Python and Jython.

When I started working with Jython I discovered Eclipse through a colleague, I still use gvim for small scripts but when writing bigger scripts or scripts where I import Java packages I use Eclipse.

When I say Eclipse I actually use Aptana on Mac OS X and Spring on Windows at work. I'd like to try Aptana on Linux but so far have not found a way to install it that won't need fiddling around!

However, being a vim user I get quite frustrated having to use my mouse and arrow keys to move around so I looked around for something vim like to help me out and I discovered Vrapper.


Vrapper installs like all other Eclipse plugins from http://vrapper.sourceforge.net/update-site/stable once installed you have a litle gvim icon in your toolbar and when you click on this you have vim like editing.

From the Vrapper site: http://vrapper.sourceforge.net/

Instead of embedding Vim in Eclipse or creating a new text (Eclipse) editor with Vim functionality from scratch, Vrapper adds a layer on top of existing editors like the Java editor. The advantage of this approach is that all the features of the original editor are still available. For example it is still possible to use the refactoring capabilities of the Java editor.

While Vrapper is active, it adds a listener to every editor which is opened. Every keystroke send to the editor is then evaluated by Vrapper. In insert mode, keystrokes are simply passed to the underlying editor (unless they are remapped to something else). In other modes (e.g. visual or normal mode) most keystrokes will result in some action performed by Vrapper (e.g. delete, paste).

Vrapper is neither able nor intended to be a replacement for Vim. It is meant to enhance the text editors of the Eclipse platform.

If you are a Vim user who is using Eclipse because of some specific features or want a faster way of editing text in Eclipse, Vrapper might be just what you are looking for. On the other hand, if you are a long-time Vim user and do not need any features of Eclipse editors, the alternatives below might suit you better.

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