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I have the following handy abbreviation in VIM:

iab for for<Space>(<Space>{{<Esc>kA<Left><Left><Left><Left><C-R>=Eatchar('\s')<CR>

This nicely replaces for with the following text:

for (  ) {


However, I would like this abbreviation to work only in code, not in comments or in single- or double- quoted strings. How might this constraint be accomplished? Thanks!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

First of all, your abbreviation doesn't insert what you say it does in your example; it behaves rather oddly for me even though I do have Eatchar() defined. My best guess is that it's triggering other abbreviations/mappings, and I will assume I should leave it alone.

My solution is to tie into the syntax engine, which means it will only work if you have syntax highlighting enabled. Try this:

iab <buffer> <expr> for <SID>CodeInsert("for", "for<Space>(<Space>{{<Esc>kA<Left><Left><Left><Left><C-R>=Eatchar('\s')<CR>")

function! s:CodeInsert(abbr,str)
    let syn = synIDattr(synIDtrans(synID(line('.'), col('.') - 1, 1)), 'name')
    if syn ==? 'comment' || syn ==? 'constant'
        return a:abbr
        return a:str
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Thank you! I will play around with this solution and see what I can get working. – dotancohen Oct 14 '12 at 22:51
You are right, I have other imappings as well, such as {{. In any case, your solution works perfect. Thank you! – dotancohen Oct 15 '12 at 16:06
I was able to read about synIDattr and the other bits in the help, but when reading the help page h ==? it looks like I was getting the help text for ==. What is the ==? operator? Thanks. – dotancohen Oct 15 '12 at 16:10
See :help expr-==? (or :help expr4) – Heptite Oct 15 '12 at 18:07
Thanks. I've got some reading to do! – dotancohen Oct 15 '12 at 18:23

You could use autocmd to prevent the abbreviation from working in Python files:

if has("autocmd")
  autocmd FileType php,c,java iab for for<Space>...<CR>

I don't think it's possible to prevent it from working just inside particular text section like double or single quoted strings.

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Thanks. The Python bit is very secondary, I've removed it from the question as I see that it is distracting from the real issue. In any case I've upvoted. Thanks. – dotancohen Oct 14 '12 at 15:43

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