Dustin Ingram


The Problem #

If you’re running the nightly version of iTerm (which, if you like surprises, I suggest you do) you might have noticed a new feature called Semantic History.

In short, Semantic History allows you to ⌘-click on a filename (in your terminal) and perform an action on that file (or rather, with that filename).

Obviously, the ideal action is to open that file in that terminal window, in your editor, but if you use vi, the default option might not be enough for you… mainly because vi is probably not listed as an option.

The Solution #

You can find the “Semantic History” feature under Preferences -> Profiles -> Advanced.

You might think that the “Run command” option is what you want, but you’d be wrong! This simply runs a new process, separate from your existing session.

What you actually want is the “Run coprocess” command. This will run the given command in the same session that the filename was clicked in.

Because iTerm is helpful, in addition to filenames, it can also recognize line numbers. However, vi will jump you to the end of the file if no line number is specified (if it’s just a regular filename).

Hence, the ideal coprocess to run is as follows:

[ -z "\2" ] && echo vi \1 || echo vi +\2 \1

This checks if the \2 param is zero-length or not. If it is, it just calls vi on the filename. If not, it calls vi with +\2 which makes vi jump to the line number.