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Use gvim to view page source in Internet Explorer

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created September 16, 2001 · complexity basic · author Freddy Vulto · version 5.7


You can avoid VBScript and EXEs by using a shortcut to Vim. This is especially useful on corporate computers where, for security reasons, scripting may be disabled.

  1. Right-click gvim.exe in Windows Explorer and click 'Create Shortcut'.
  2. Rename the shortcut to 'gvim_ie'. Running a directory listing (dir) at a command prompt reveals the real name of the shortcut as 'gvim_ie.lnk'.
  3. Right-click the shortcut and click 'Properties'. Add the desired command-line parameters to the 'Target' field (e.g. '"C:\Program Files\vim\vim62\gvim.exe" -M -c "set syntax=html" -c "set ft=html"' or maybe some form of --remote command).
  4. Point the 'Editor Name' registry key to the link.
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\View Source Editor\Editor Name]
@="C:\\Program Files\\vim\\vim62\\gvim_ie.lnk"

This method was tested using Vim 6.2 on Win2K and Vim 6.1 on Win98. Also using Vim 7.3 on WinXP.


Within the registry, you can specify the source editor to be used by Internet Explorer when View|Source is selected. Unfortunately, you can't specify a quoted filename argument here, i.e. "%1". The editor specified is supposed to handle filenames which contain spaces. This will cause problems for Vim because Vim treats each space as an argument separator. If an unquoted filename contains spaces, Vim treats the filename as multiple arguments and will open multiple files instead of one. To workaround this problem a quoted filename has to be passed to Vim. This can be done by creating the following Visual Basic Script file gVim.vbs:

'gVim.vbs
'function: Start gvim, combining multiple arguments to single file argument.
'changes: 20010905: Quoted 'oWShell.Run' filename argument, allowing spaces.
' 20010518: Created.
'author: Freddy Vulto
option explicit
dim oWShell, sArg, sFile
set oWShell = CreateObject("wscript.shell")

' Loop through arguments
for each sArg in wscript.arguments
  sFile = sFile & sArg & " "
next
sFile = Trim(sFile)

' Run Vim with file argument and additional arguments:
' -R: View file readonly
' -c "set syntax=html": Use HTML syntax-highlighting
oWShell.Run _
"""d:\program files\vim\vim60\gvim.exe """ & _
 "-R """ & sFile & """ " & _
 "-c ""set syntax=html""" & _
 "-c ""set filetype=html"""

' Destroy script object
set oWShell = NOTHING

The source editor now can be specified by adding the following key to the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  Software
    Microsoft
      Internet Explorer
        View Source Editor
          Editor Name (Default) = D:\Programs\Vim\gvim.vbs


CommentsEdit

1. Copy the script into a file named gvim.vbs. A good place to put it is the root of your Vim tree (e.g., c:\program files\vim\).

2. Change the path in gvim.vbs to point to your copy of gvim.

3. Save the following as a file named gvim.ie.vbs.reg (or something like that):

REGEDIT4
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\View Source Editor\Editor Name]
@="c:\\Program Files\\vim\\gvim.vbs"

4. Change the path in gvim.ie.vbs.reg to point to your copy of gvim.

5. Double click on the file gvim.ie.vbs.reg, or if you're already editing it in vim, execute the command line

!start regedit "c:\program files\vim\gvim.ie.vbs.reg"

Of course, you can produce the file name by hitting control-r %.


I added the registry entry for my Internet Explorer 6 and it works, although I only used Editorname=gvim.exe. So it looks like that IE 6 automatically puts quotes around filenames (and Vim therefore can read \winnt\temporary internet files\... without any issues).

Or am I missing something?


I added this by just specifying gvim.exe and it works on filenames with spaces on IE6.


For people who hates VB scripts or does not want to have an extra .vbs file, Look at: http://radio.weblogs.com/0100529/WinXp/#ie_editor

1. Open regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
2. Expand the key "Software"
3. Expand the key "Microsoft "
4. Expand the key "Internet Explorer"
5. Create key "View Source Editor" under "Internet Explorer"
6. Create key "Editor Name" under "View Source Editor"
7. Change the default value of key "Editor Name" to something named
   after the view you wish to use, in this example "vi.exe"
8. Close things up and expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
9. Expand the key "applications"
10. Create a new subkey under "applications" with the same name from above. Ex "vi.exe"
11. Create a new subkey under the key created in the last step called shell.
12. Create a new subkey under shell called open.
13. Create a new subkey under edit called command.
14. Change the default value under the key command to the full path to
    your editor in quotes plus "%1" (with the quotes) Ex: "c:\vi\vi.exe" "%1"

An alternative (quick and dirty) solution is to rename notepad.exe (e.g. to _notepad.exe), and create a batch file called notepad.bat that runs Vim instead. It works for me!


Just to take this great tip one step farther. Here's how I added syntax highlighting to my source code.

" Open html files from Internet Explorer with certain commands autocmd BufRead *\0-9 runtime! syntax/html.vim


Here's how I added syntax colouring to the sourcecode.

Create a file scripts.vim in your user directory with the following code in. See :help filetype for more details. This also allows you to start creating an html file and type :filetype detect to get syntax highlighting as well. I'm sure the detection code can be improved, but it works for a first pass!

if did_filetype()
  finish
endif
"Automatic detection of html files.
let s:line1 = getline(1)
let s:line2 = getline(2)
if s:line1 =~ '^<html*' || s:line2 =~ '^<html*'
  set ft=html
endif

Instead of using regedit to change "View Source Editor" directly, we can also use TweakUI for Windows XP (one of the "Powertoys for Windows XP").

Navigate to "Internet Explorer->View Source". Click "Change Program".

It changes the registry for you. (Exactly the same effect as using regedit.)


When I set this up, I had to create the keys for the View Source Editor, and its subkey "Editor Name".

In regedit:

  1. Right Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer and select "New" -> "Key".
  2. Name the new key "View Source Editor"
  3. Right click on the new key, select "New" -> "Key"
  4. Name that new key "Editor Name"
  5. In the right pane of regedit, double click "(Default)". This will open a pop-up to edit the value.
  6. Enter the name of the shortcut, as in C:\Program Files\Vim\vim62\vim_ie.lnk

Right away I was able to View Source with VIM. If you have tried to View Source before making these changes, I suspect you would have to restart IE or even reboot.


I'm running Win98SE. I've made all the here to mentioned changes to my VB script and to _vimrc file and my syntax highlighting still does not work: I added this to my _vimrc file.

" Only do this part when compiled with support for autocommands.
if has("autocmd")
 autocmd BufRead *\[[0-9]] runtime! syntax/html.vim
endif

And I'm using the VB script here:

option explicit
dim oWShell, sArg, sFile

' Create script object
set oWShell = CreateObject("wscript.shell")
' Loop through arguments
for each sArg in wscript.arguments
 sFile = sFile & sArg & " "
next
sFile = Trim(sFile)
' Run Vim with file argument. Additional arguments:
' -R: View file readonly
' -c "set syntax=html": Use HTML syntax-highlighting
' NOTE: Use "-c ""set ft=html""" to make it work for Vim v6.
oWShell.Run _
 """C:\Vim\Vim62\gvim.exe """ & _
 "-R """ & sFile & """ " & _
 "-c ""set syntax=html""" & _
 "-c ""set filetype=html"""

' Destroy script object
set oWShell = NOTHING

This is all straight from this page. I was wondering if anyone else was having problems getting the syntax highlighting working under Win98SE.


Here's the latest update of gVim.vbs:

'--- gVim.vbs -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'function: Start gvim, combining multiple arguments to single file argument.
' This file is meant to be called from the Internet Explorer {View | Source} menu by
' adding the following keys to the registry:
'
' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
' |- Software
' |- Microsoft
' |- Internet Explorer
' | |- View Source Editor
' | |- Editor Name (Default) = "C:\Program Files\Vim\gvim.vbs"
' |
' |- Windows
' |- CurrentVersion
' |- App Paths
' |- gvim.exe (Default) = "C:\Program Files\Vim\Vim62\gvim.exe"
'
'author: Freddy Vulto
option explicit
dim oWShell
dim oFileSystem
dim sArg
dim sPathFileArgs
dim sPathFileSource
dim sPathIeCache
dim sPathToVim
dim sVimArgs

' Collect arguments into 'sPathFile' variable, separated by spaces
set oWShell = CreateObject("wscript.shell")
for each sArg in wscript.arguments
 sPathFileArgs = sPathFileArgs & sArg & " "
next
sPathFileArgs = Trim(sPathFileArgs)
sPathFileSource = sPathFileArgs

' Is extension ext missing from file specification (dir\dir\file.ext)?
if (InStrRev(sPathFileArgs, ".") < (InStrRev(sPathFileArgs, "\"))) then
 ' Yes, filename is missing an extension;
 ' Does file reside in IE cache?
 sPathIeCache = oWShell.RegRead( _
 "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Cache")
 if (InStr(sPathFileArgs, sPathIeCache) = 1) then
 ' Yes, file resides in IE cache;
 ' Rename '<file>' to '<file>.htm' so Vim can detect if its HTML or XHTML (see function
 ' 'FTCheck_html()' in 'filetype.vim')
 set oFileSystem = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
 sPathFileSource = sPathFileArgs & ".htm"
 if (oFileSystem.FileExists(sPathFileSource)) then
 oFileSystem.DeleteFile(sPathFileSource)
 end if
 oFileSystem.MoveFile sPathFileArgs, sPathFileSource
 set oFileSystem = NOTHING
 else
 ' No, file doesn't reside in IE cache;
 ' Better not rename file: assume file is HTML
 sVimArgs = sVimArgs & " -c ""set syntax=html"" -c ""set filetype=html"""
 end if
end if

' Run Vim with file argument. Additional arguments:
' -R: View file readonly
sPathToVim = oWShell.RegRead( _
 "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\gvim.exe\")
oWShell.Run sPathToVim & " -R """ & sPathFileSource & """" & sVimArgs

' Destroy script object
set oWShell = NOTHING

There seems to be an additional problem if one wants to use e.g. the --remote-silent option so that the file opens in an existing gvim session. I have the impression that the [-R -c "set ft=html" --remote-files] sequnce does not seem to work: the filetype remains unset, and the file is noreadonly. I adapted the script so that it first runs gvim --remote-silent to pass the file to the current gvim session, and that I use gvim --remote-send to switch to readonly and an additional gvim --remote-send to set the filetype. (Didn't work if both commands were sent together). Works like a breeze. Here's the script as I use it now:

'--- gVim.vbs -----------------------------------------------------------------
'function: Start gvim, combining multiple arguments to single file argument.
'changes: 20010905: Quoted 'oWShell.Run' filename argument, allowing spaces.
' 20010518: Created.
'author: Freddy Vulto
'updated to work with remote vim session

' Making variable declaration mandatory
option explicit

dim oWShell, sArg, sFile

' Create script object
set oWShell = CreateObject("wscript.shell")
' Loop through arguments
for each sArg in wscript.arguments
 ' Add argument to filename
 sFile = sFile & sArg & " "
next
' Remove excess space
sFile = Trim(sFile)
' Run Vim with file argument. Additional arguments:
' -R: View file readonly
' -c "set syntax=html": Use HTML syntax-highlighting
' NOTE: Use "-c ""set ft=html""" to make it work for Vim v6.
oWShell.Run _
"""gvim.exe """ & _
"--remote-silent " & _
"""" & sFile & """"

oWShell.Run _
"""gvim.exe """ & _
"--remote-send " & _
""":se ro<CR>"""

' I have no need to set the syntax separately
' This could be uncommented if need be
'oWShell.Run _
'"""gvim.exe """ & _
'"--remote-send " & _
'""":se syntax=html<CR>"""

oWShell.Run _
"""gvim.exe """ & _
"--remote-send " & _
""":se ft=html<CR>"""

' Destroy script object
set oWShell = NOTHING

Folks... The space before the last quote is critical... Otherwise, the arguments get jumbled like so:

-c "set syntax=html"-c "set etc..."
 ^^
 +---> NOT good!

It works on Winnt 4 with IE 5.5.

viewsource.reg

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\View Source Editor\Editor Name]
@="D:\\ViewSource.bat"

D:\ViewSource.bat

D:\vim\vim62\gvim.exe -M -c "set syntax=html" -c "set ft=html" "%1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9"

The following version of viewsource.bat will work even better because it won't leave the DOS window open. Also, for reasons unknown, the multiple file names problem doesn't occur, however it did with the version in the previous note. Leave viewsource.reg as described there; works fine with Windows XP and IE 6.

start c:\whereever\gvim.exe -M -c "set syntax=html" -c "set ft=html" -- %1

More on the batchfile option...

If your Vim is installed in a directory with spaces (e.g., c:\Program files\Vim\Vim63\gvim.exe), either of the following will work:

start "" "c:\Program files\Vim\Vim63\gvim.exe" -M -c "set syn=html" -c "set ft=html" %1

OR

start c:\Progra~1\Vim\Vim63\gvim.exe -M -c "set syn=html" -c "set ft=html" %1

The "" in the first is necessary because otherwise "start" will think "c:\...\gvim.exe" is the title of the window.


I extended a previous poster's script.vim addition. Just add the following code (between BEGINCODE and ENDCODE) to the bottom of your scripts.vim file (mine was at:"C:\Program Files\Vim\vim63") and the script will be run to check any file that Vim loads for a line (within the first 3 non-whitespace lines) that starts with "<html". This means you don't need the .vbs script, and you still get syntax highlighting.

"Automatic detection of html files.

let s:lineNum = 1
let s:line1 = getline(s:lineNum)
while s:lineNum < 20 && s:line1 =~ '^\s*$'
 let s:lineNum = s:lineNum + 1
 let s:line1 = getline(s:lineNum)
endwhile
let s:line2 = getline(s:lineNum+1)
let s:line3 = getline(s:lineNum+2)

if s:line1 =~ '^\s*<html*' || s:line2 =~ '^\s*<html*' || s:line3 =~ '^\s*<html*'
 set ft=html
endif

For Mozilla Firefox, Davide Ficano has written a "ViewSourceWith" extension. Just follow the link below in Firefox, and click on "Install now": https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=394

Once installed use: Tools -> Extensions A window popsup with your installed extension listed. Select "ViewSourceWith" and click "Options". Under "Editor list" click "New" and enter the full path to gvim.exe under "Editor path", and hey presto!


With reference to the note above about checking for "<html" in the first three lines: I tried this out and found it didn't always work because "<html" isn't always at the start of the line. I changed my version to search for: ^.*<html* instead of: ^\s*<html* and now we're all happy.


This has always worked for me:

Put this in a batch

gvim %1 -c "so $VIMRUNTIME\syntax\html.vim"

And change the registry to point to that batch, as in the main tip.


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