Vim as HTTP clientPosted on
Let me share a quick tip on how to use Vim with curl as a simple HTTP client.
In the core of this tip is a filter through curl.
:!curl --config -
Let us walk through this.
A filter is a program that accepts text at standard input, changes it in some way, and sends it to standard output.
We can send some buffer lines to an external command, and Vim will replace them with the command output.
Given a buffer
3 2 4 1
After filtering lines through the sort command
The lines are in order.
1 2 3 4
curl configuration file
Curl allows passing all command-line flags using a configuration file.
Specify a text file to read curl arguments from. The command line arguments found in the text file will be used as if they were provided on the command line.
Like many command-line apps, curl uses a hyphen (
-) to make the app read file from standard input.
$ echo '--url http://ifconfig.me --silent' | curl --config - 18.104.22.168
Let’s use this in Vim buffer.
--url http://ifconfig.me --silent --show-error
run the command
:%!curl --config -
The buffer now contains a curl response.
It’s hard to iterate over request arguments because the curl command replaces them with the response.
To make it more interactive, we can duplicate the configuration lines before running the curl.
Below is a sequence of commands that can help with this
vipselect all configuration lines using paragraph text object
ycopy selected lines
Ppaste before the cursor
gvreselect the lines
:!curl --config -run curl on the selection
Record this into a macro or create a command, and you have an interactive environment.
:map <leader>cc vipyPgvO<Esc>O<Esc>gv:!curl --config -<CR>
The extra bit
gvO<Esc>O<Esc> inserts an empty line between request and response. It helps to make them different paragraphs, distinct text objects.
Use a plugin
This approach is excellent for a quick hack or an example of using the Vim filter command.
I don’t use it every day. Instead, I prefer to use a plugin like Vim REST Console. Compared to the simple curl command, it has several advantages:
- has simple HTTP syntax
- supports variables
- does not require escaping POST payload
- formats response payload