Automatically refresh display of html on saving file

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Tip 1656 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created June 15, 2010 · complexity basic · author A generic person · version 7.0


Editing HTML in Vim is a lot nicer if you can see updates in Firefox without needing to remove your hands from the keyboard. With MozRepl and a little vimrc script, you can do just that!

[edit] The bad old way

You are probably all too familiar with this annoying mini-workflow:

  • Edit your HTML/CSS file.
  • Hit save in Vim.
  • CMD/CNTRL/ALT + TAB over to Firefox.
  • Press Ctrl-R in Firefox to refresh.
  • CMD/CNTRL/ALT + TAB back to Vim.
  • Do it again and again, wincing a little bit each time.

[edit] The joyful new Vim + MozRepl way

With the little vimrc + MozRepl hack shown below, all you need to do is:

  • Edit your HTML/css file.
  • Hit save in Vim – Firefox will refresh automatically, preserving its scroll offsets!

This integration is no where near as fancy as the Emacs MozRepl binding, but this one feature makes it super useful.

[edit] Vim + MozRepl

When editing an .html,.css, or .gtpl file, make Firefox refresh after the buffer is saved, preserving the current scroll offset.

[edit] Requires

  1. MozRepl must be installed and running in Firefox
  2. Netcat (nc) must be on your path.
  3. Firefox and Vim are both on the same machine (localhost).

[edit] How it works

I use echo + netcat (nc) to send a dopey little MosRepl script (see below) to Firefox. All the output is tossed away (2>&1 > /dev/null) because MozRepl is chatty.

Global variables are used (vimXo, vimYo) to capture the X,Y offset of the web page for Vim. Maybe there's a way to not use a global, but I don't know what that might be. After saving the buffer and reloading the browser, scroll to the X,Y offset.

See also:

[edit] Code for vimrc

autocmd BufWriteCmd *.html,*.css,*.gtpl :call Refresh_firefox()
function! Refresh_firefox()
  if &modified
    write
    silent !echo  'vimYo = content.window.pageYOffset;
          \ vimXo = content.window.pageXOffset;
          \ BrowserReload();
          \ content.window.scrollTo(vimXo,vimYo);
          \ repl.quit();'  |
          \ nc -w 1 localhost 4242 2>&1 > /dev/null
  endif
endfunction

- added "-w 1" flag to netcat to solve occasional hung connections

[edit] A few additions

To put in vimrc:

command! -nargs=1 Repl silent !echo
      \ "repl.home();
      \ content.location.href = '<args>';
      \ repl.enter(content);
      \ repl.quit();" |
      \ nc localhost 4242

nmap <leader>mh :Repl http://
" mnemonic is MozRepl Http
nmap <silent> <leader>ml :Repl file:///%:p<CR>
" mnemonic is MozRepl Local
nmap <silent> <leader>md :Repl http://localhost/
" mnemonic is MozRepl Development

Now, when working on local html files, if you switch files often then just press <leader>ml and the file is shown in Firefox. Also, <leader>mh will bring you to ex mode where you can type in a URL and go there in Firefox etc.

[edit] See also

[edit] Comments

Excellent! Needed something to replace LiveReload on my Linux workstation at work. This did the trick. Thanks.

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