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Custom Menu Commands

Aretext allows you to define custom menu items to run shell commands. This provides a simple, yet powerful, way to extend the editor.

Adding Custom Menu Comands

You can add new menu commands by editing the config file to add this rule:

- name: custom menu rule
  pattern: "**/myproject/**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: my custom menu command
      shellCmd: echo 'hello world!' | less
      mode: terminal  # or "silent" or "insert" or "fileLocations"

After restarting the editor, the new command will be available in the command menu. Selecting the new command will launch a shell (configured by the $SHELL environment variable) and execute the shell command (in this case, echoing "hello world").

The "mode" parameter controls how aretext handles the command's input and output. The table below shows the available modes:

Mode Input Output Use Cases
terminal tty tty make, git commit, go test, man, ...
silent none none go fmt, tmux commands, copy to system clipboard, ...
insert none insert into document paste from system clipboard, insert snippet, comment/uncomment selection, ...
insertChoice none insert choice menu choose a word to insert from a dictionary like /usr/share/dict/words, ...
fileLocations none file location menu grep for word under cursor, ...
workingDir none working directory menu select the current working directory from a preset list

In addition, the following environment variables are provided to the shell command:

  • $FILEPATH is the absolute path to the current file.
  • $WORD is the current word under the cursor.
  • $LINE is the line number of the cursor, starting from one.
  • $COLUMN is the column position of the cursor in bytes, starting from one.
  • $SELECTION is the currently selected text (if any).

If there are multiple commands with the same name, only the last of these commands will appear in the menu.

Examples

Build a project with make

Add a menu command to build a project using make. Piping to less allows us to page through the output.

- name: custom make cmd
  pattern: "**/myproject/**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: build
      shellCmd: make | less
      save: true  # save the file before running `make`

Copy and paste using the system clipboard

Most systems provide command-line utilities for interacting with the system clipboard. Custom menu commands can invoke these tools to copy the current selection and paste into the document.

On Linux (Wayland):

- name: linux wayland clipboard commands
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: copy to clipboard
      shellCmd: wl-copy "$SELECTION"
      mode: silent
    - name: paste from clipboard
      shellCmd: wl-paste
      mode: insert

On macOS:

- name: macos clipboard commands
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
      - name: copy to clipboard
        shellCmd: printenv SELECTION | pbcopy
        mode: silent
      - name: paste from clipboard
        shellCmd: pbpaste
        mode: insert

Using tmux:

- name: tmux clipboard commands
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: copy to clipboard
      shellCmd: printenv SELECTION | tmux load-buffer -
      mode: silent
    - name: paste from clipboard
      shellCmd: tmux show-buffer
      mode: insert

Format the current file

Many programming languages provide command line tools to automatically format code. You can add a custom menu command to run these tools on the current file.

For example, this command uses go fmt to format a Go file:

- name: custom fmt command
  pattern: "**/*.go"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: go fmt current file
      shellCmd: go fmt $FILEPATH | less
      save: true  # save the file before running `go fmt`

Git blame the current file

When working in a git repository, you might want to know who last edited a line of code. You can find this using git blame on the current file.

- name: git blame command
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: git blame
      shellCmd: git blame "$FILEPATH" | less +$LINE

Insert a snippet

You can add a custom menu command to insert a snippet of code.

For example, suppose you have written a template for a Go test. You can then create a menu command to cat the contents of the file into the document:

- name: custom snippet command
  pattern: "**/*.go"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: insert test snippet
      shellCmd: cat ~/snippets/go-test.go
      mode: insert

Grep for the word under the cursor

You can add a custom menu command to grep for the word under the cursor. The following example uses ripgrep to perform the search:

- name: custom grep command
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: rg word
      shellCmd: rg $WORD --vimgrep  # or `grep $WORD -n -R .`
      mode: fileLocations

Once the search has completed, aretext loads the locations into a searchable menu. This allows you to easily navigate to a particular result.

The "fileLocations" mode works with any command that outputs file locations as lines with the format: <file>:<line>:<snippet> or <file>:<line>:<col>:<snippet>. You can use grep, ripgrep, or a script you write yourself!

Open a document in a new tmux window

If you use tmux, you can add a custom menu command to open the current document in a new window.

- name: tmux window commands
  pattern: "**"
  config:
    menuCommands:
    - name: split window horizontal
      shellCmd: tmux split-window -h "aretext $FILEPATH"
      mode: silent
    - name: split window vertical
      shellCmd: tmux split-window -v "aretext $FILEPATH
      mode: silent