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Version Control for Vimfiles

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created June 6, 2007 · complexity intermediate · author A. S. Budden · version 7.0

If you use Vim on multiple computers/operating systems or have a copy of Vim installed on a USB stick, you may find it advantageous to put your vimfiles/.vim directory into a version control system such as subversion or Git. This will enable you to keep all of the various copies synchronised with the same plugins and settings etc.

To help with this, it is useful to move the vimrc into the vimfiles directory so that it can be synchronised at the same time as the various plugins. Move your .vimrc or _vimrc into the vimfiles directory and rename it to vimrc. Do the same with .gvimrc if you have one. Create a new .vimrc (or _vimrc) in an appropriate place (e.g. the home directory on Linux or the "vim" directory in Windows) containing the following:

" Load the first file named 'vimrc' found in runtimepath
runtime vimrc

If you use gvimrc, use a similar format with "vimrc" replaced with "gvimrc". You may also want to keep a reference copy in the subversion repository so that you can access it when checking out a new 'working copy'.

As a very brief (and possibly unnecessary) example of use, some useful subversion commands follow:

# Change to the .vim directory
cd ~/.vim
# Import into subversion (assumes that the vimrc modifications have been done)
svn import -m "Initial import" svn://localhost/trunk/configuration/vim/vimfiles
# Remove the static version
cd ~
mv .vim dotvimbackup
# Checkout a working copy, renaming it to .vim to suit the Linux version
svn co svn://localhost/trunk/configuration/vim/vimfiles .vim


I think it would be even more useful to set up the new .vimrc created to call the "update" command of the appropriate version control software before sourcing the moved vimrc copy. That way you REALLY always have the latest version.

I don't think anyone would be patient enough to wait for svn/cvs/whatever update before editing any file

i started using git to track my $VIMRUNTIME days ago, and it is such a joy to see people are doing the same as well here. I do a lot of comments and modification in the repo, knowing that it will be obvious even after ages.

Planning to push the repo to github...

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