Hardscrabble 🍫

By Max Jacobson

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Ambiguous use of user-defined command

18 Jan 2015

I wish Vim plugin authors would stop exposing commands that start with E. Is that a reasonable thing to feel? I do feel it.

I use netrw to browse files in vim, and I enter netrw by writing :E. I do this all the time. :E is short for :Explore. I could type :Ex, :Exp, :Expl, :Explo, :Explor as well, but I type :E. This is what my fingers remember.

Sometimes I install a plugin, and that plugin exposes another command which starts with :E, and suddenly I get this vim error message:

Ambiguous use of user-defined command

What! I’m the user, and I didn’t even define these commands! I just installed a plugin. This is bull! Recently I installed a plugin which, very sensibly, exposes a command called :Errors. Except, like, now I can’t type :E because that’s ambiguous, I could just as easily mean either of those commands, so vim does neither. Now I need to type :Ex to disambiguate. I could cry.

So anyway, I was about to uninstall the plugin, but then I realized I can just edit my local copy of it and comment out the line that exposes the :Errors command, which I didn’t particularly want to use anyway, and now I’m kind of happy. I would prefer if I could un-register the command in my .vimrc (is it possible? I couldn’t find how in my few minutes of searching), because this solution is kind of fragile; next time I install the plugin on some other computer, it won’t include my fix.

Edit April 2015: I’ve sort of solved this problem by no longer typing :E, and instead adding this line to my vimrc:

nmap <silent> <Leader>e :Explore<CR>

Which lets me type ,e to jump right to netrw (, is my Leader character. By default, the Leader character is \.)`

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