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I need to edit remote files with vim, that are on a FTP server. THere's no SSH or SFTP access. Just FTP. I've tried syncing via curlftpfs, the files appeared in a local dir, but i cannot write to them, i get all sorts of errors, and when i manage to write files with random endings are generated on the server. index.php writes on server as index.phz, index.phy, etc...

I had sublime text 2 installed but cannot run it anymore after i installed new drivers for my graphic card. I've also tried n++ with WINE but no luck in openeing FTP files that are in a deeper directory level.

I've seen there are various approaches with vim to edit files on the FTP, but every single one needs typing like :e http://[user@]machine/path (with netrw plugin). I would really like to avoid anykind of repetition, rather set up a relative mapping. It's strange that there's not solution for vim since its a developer's tool mostly, sublime and npp already have that solved in a simple manner. typing on and on the same hostname/path etc. would break a simple DRY principle.

Idealy would be if i could cache the files locally with some syncing tool, and upload them to ftp mapping the path local -> remote, right after vim writes to a file, or i issue an upload command etc (without having to type file opened every time). There are plenty of files on the server so i cannot memorize them, It's important for me to have them cached locally so that i can access them fast and upload with a simple command.

I'm running Slackware 13.37 x64

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migrated from Nov 7 '12 at 20:56

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use netrw to display the content of a remote directory with:

:e <-- note the slash at the end.

from there you can open a file in another window with P or in the current window with <CR>.

Don't panic if you loose the file listing: it's still there and you can get it back with :Rex.

Or simply use a GUI FTP client like Filezilla or gFTP and its "Edit in…" feature.

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I've tried the vim and filezilla method, and the filezilla is much faster than the vim, however if i open more files many new vim windows just makes too much mess. Will give gFTP a try. I just wish i could run sublime again since it beats any of the other ancient methods which make me counter productive :( – Keeper Hood Nov 7 '12 at 11:21
gFTP works like Filezilla: the windows mess is Vim's fault. In both FTP clients, you need to set this command as "editor": "/usr/bin/gvim" --servername filezilla --remote-tab. – romainl Nov 7 '12 at 11:31
Why can't you run Sublime? It works very well on Linux. – romainl Nov 7 '12 at 11:32
It did work, but I've updated some graphics drivers and it crashes on start now, don't wanna go into offtopic. – Keeper Hood Nov 7 '12 at 11:45
The --remote-tab works much better, wondering how can i set the command to add a buffer instead of a tab if i need to? – – Keeper Hood Nov 7 '12 at 11:54

Though you cannot simple use relative filenames (because the local working directory is different), you can use the filename-modifiers to refer to files relatively:

:edit %:h/another.html
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I feel you pain, I love to use vim, and with the ftp client, it is almost like you have ssh. The workflow that I use is

  1. Log into the ftp server using the open command :e ftp://username@server/
  2. Create a new tab of the current selection :tab split
  3. Move to the new tab :tabn
  4. Navigate to the file in vim
  5. When you are done editing the file, close the tab :wq
  6. Repeat from step 2

I have found that this works the best.

The tabs in Vim are great, they can allow you to have a number of files and you can even yank y and delete d lines between open files in the same session. Very cool.

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If you use vim ftp://hostname/path/ you'll get a directory listing. If you work with this host often, you might want to bookmark it. With netrw v153j, you can use :NetrwMB filename(s); you can use mb to bookmark the current directory; and you can use qb to list the current bookmarks (and history). Bookmarks and whatnot are available via the menu with gvim, too. To go to a bookmark, use gb.

So, I'm suggesting that you bookmark the directory, return to the directory listing via :Rex or gb, and edit the files so listed.

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I know this is old, but another option is to use e.g. curlftpfs (Slackware build here) to mount the FTP server to a mount point, then use your local text editor of choice.

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