A text editor combining modal editing with structural regular expressions.

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18 days ago
18 days ago

#Vis - Combining Modal Editing with Structural Regular Expressions

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Vis aims to be a modern, legacy-free, simple yet efficient editor, combining the strengths of both vi(m) and sam.

It extends vi's modal editing with built-in support for multiple cursors/selections and combines it with sam's structural regular expression based command language.

A universal editor, it has decent Unicode support and should cope with arbitrary files, including large, binary or single-line ones.

Efficient syntax highlighting is provided using Parsing Expression Grammars, which can be conveniently expressed using Lua in the form of LPeg.

The editor core is written in a reasonable amount of clean (your mileage may vary), modern and legacy-free C code, enabling it to run in resource-constrained environments. The implementation should be easy to hack on and encourages experimentation. There is also a Lua API for in-process extensions.

Vis strives to be simple and focuses on its core task: efficient text management. Clipboard and digraph handling as well as a fuzzy file open dialog are all provided by independent utilities. There exist plans to use a client/server architecture, delegating window management to your windowing system or favorite terminal multiplexer.

The intention is not to be bug-for-bug compatible with vi(m). Instead,
we aim to provide more powerful editing features based on an elegant design and clean implementation.

vis demo

#Build instructions

In order to build vis you will need a C99 compiler, a POSIX.1-2008 compatible environment as well as:

  • libtermkey
  • curses (recommended)
  • Lua >= 5.2 (optional)
  • LPeg >= 0.12 (optional runtime dependency required for syntax highlighting)
  • TRE (optional for more memory efficient regex search)

Assuming these dependencies are met, execute:

$ ./configure && make && sudo make install

By default the configure script will try to auto detect support for Lua using pkg-config(1). See configure --help for a list of supported options. You can also manually tweak the generated config.mk file.

Or simply use one of the distribution provided packages.


End user documentation can be found in the vis(1) manual page and the Wiki. Read the FAQ for common questions. Learn about some differences compared to sam(1) and vim(1), respectively.

C API as well as Lua API documentation is also available.

#Non Goals

Some features which will not be implemented:

  • tabs / multiple workspaces / advanced window management
  • file and directory browser
  • support for file archives (tar, zip, ...)
  • support for network protocols (ftp, http, ssh ...)
  • encryption
  • compression
  • GUIs (neither x11, motif, gtk, win32 ...) although the codebase should make it easy to add them
  • VimL
  • right-to-left text
  • ex mode, we have more elegant structural regexp
  • diff mode
  • vimgrep
  • internal spell checker
  • lots of compile time configurable features / #ifdef mess

#How to help?

There are plenty of ways to contribute, below are a few ideas:

Checkout the Developer Overview to get started and do not hesitate to ask question in the #vis-editor IRC channel on libera (join via your browser).