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Operator Pending Mappings


Simple operator mapping

d, y, c are operators that wait for a movement command (w, i(, etc.). Vim lets you create new movements.

Here's a sweet mapping to directly operator on the contents of the next braces.

:onoremap in( :<c-u>normal! f(vi(<cr>
def somefunc(param1, param2):

When the cursor is somewhere before the braces, running cin() will clear out the contents of the braces.

Structural breakdown of the mapping:

Component Description
in( new movement
normal! execute normal mode commands
f( find next (
vi( visual selection

Operator mapping using execute

normal! doesn't recognize "special characters" like <cr>. There are a number of ways around this, but the easiest to use and read is execute.

The execute command is used to evaluate a string as if it were a Vimscript command.

:onoremap ih :<c-u>execute "normal! ?^==\\+$\r:nohlsearch\rkvg_"<cr>

When execute looks at the string you tell it to run, it will substitute any special characters it finds before running it. In this case, \r is an escape sequence that means "carriage return". The double backslash is also an escape sequence that puts a literal backslash in the string.

So, the above command can be seen as:

:normal! ?^==\+$<cr>:nohlsearch<cr>kvg_
                ^^^^           ^^^^
                 ||             ||
These are ACTUAL carriage returns, NOT the four characters
"left angle bracket", "c", "r", and "right angle bracket".

which can be further broken down as:

?^==\+$     " search backwards for a line containing == or more
:nohlsearch " no visual highlight
kvg_        " up one line, highlight to last non-blank character