Learn Vimscript the Hard Way

Detecting Filetypes

Let's create a Potion file we can use as a sample as we're working on our plugin. Create a factorial.pn file somewhere and put the following Potion code inside it:

factorial = (n):
    total = 1
    n to 1 (i):
        total *= i.

10 times (i):
    i string print
    '! is: ' print
    factorial (i) string print
    "\n" print.

This code creates a simple factorial function and calls it ten times, printing the results each time. Go ahead and run it with potion factorial.pn. The output should look like this:

0! is: 0
1! is: 1
2! is: 2
3! is: 6
4! is: 24
5! is: 120
6! is: 720
7! is: 5040
8! is: 40320
9! is: 362880

If you don't get this output, or you get an error, stop and figure out what's gone wrong. The code should work exactly as-is.

Take some time to understand how the code works. Refer to the Potion docs liberally. It's not critical to understanding Vimscript but it will make you a better programmer.

Detecting Potion Files

Open factorial.pn in Vim and run the following command:

:set filetype?

Vim will display filetype= because it doesn't know what a .pn file is yet. Let's fix that.

Create ftdetect/potion.vim in your plugin's repo. Put the following lines into it:

au BufNewFile,BufRead *.pn set filetype=potion

This creates a single autocommand: a command to set the filetype of .pn files to potion. Pretty straightforward.

Notice that we didn't use an autocommand group like we usually would. Vim automatically wraps the contents of ftdetect/*.vim files in autocommand groups for you, so you don't need to worry about it.

Close the factorial.pn file and reopen it. Now run the previous command again:

:set filetype?

This time Vim displays filetype=potion. When Vim started up it loaded the autocommand group inside ~/.vim/bundle/potion/ftdetect/potion.vim, and when it opened factorial.pn the autocommand fired, setting the filetype to potion.

Now that we've taught Vim to recognize Potion files we can move on to actually creating some useful behavior in our plugin.


Read :help ft. Don't worry if you don't understand everything there.

Read :help setfiletype.

Modify the Potion plugin's ftdetect/potion.vim script to use setfiletype instead of set filetype.