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Josh O'Rourke

Co-founder of Saoirse Media and Escape Plan. Program Lead of Solution Architecture at King's Daughters Health System.

Vim Tip: Temporary Key Mappings

One trick that I often use with Vim is temporarily mapping keys for tasks I need to perform in my current context.

For example, when working on a small Ruby script, I may want to run it a few times to check the output. In Vim, I can temporarily map <Leader>r to run the script.

:map ,r :!ruby myscript.rb<cr>

Here’s another example. When working with Rails, I may only want to run unit tests on a specific model. In Vim, I can temporarily map <Leader>t to run only the tests I need.

:map ,t :!rake test TEST=test/unit/product_test<cr>

Using temporary key mappings has saved me many keystrokes. To find out more about this trick (and a lot of other helpful Vim-fu), I highly recommend watching Peepcode’s Play By Play with Gary Berhardt. You can also refer to Vim’s documentation on the map command by entering :help map in Vim’s command line.