One Week with Tiler

Tiler is a tiling split manager for VIM. Here is my experience with it installed for one week.

Recently I had to work with Java (instead of Python) and one thing that happens when you're working with Java is that you have a bunch of files open at the same time. Also, I do prefer to keep things in splits 'cause there is always some information you need to keep visible for reference. But a lot of splits make visibly finding stuff very very hard.

Then suddenly, it hit me: I could use a tiling window manager and it wouldn't be such a mess; on the other hand, using different windows for each VIM (with each file) would make copying'n'pasting a hell. So if I could actually find a tiling plugin, that would give me the best of both worlds.

And that's where Tiler gets in.

Tiler is a tiling plugin for VIM. But it doesn't do anything by itself, meaning, it won't intercept every call to a split to do the tiling. But itadds new commands to manage the tiling.

For example, to open a new split using the tiling, you need to use :TilerOpen. Again, Tiler won't capture every split, so you can still open splits with :split and :vsplit, which would break the tiling arrangements, so you can put everyhing back in order with :TilerReorder.

Tiler has a layout (well, layouts, but they follow the same principle) of one large split for the main content and small ones for everything else. To bring one split to the main area, you can use :TilerFocus.

And that's basically it.

What I did was to add shortcuts to :TilerReorder and :TilerFocus. So I open splits like everyone else

... and then using <leader><space> (the configurable leader key followed by space) to call :TilerReorder and I get a nice, tidy workspace:

Although it may look cumbersome, my leader is defined to space, so to tidy up everything, all I have to do is press space twice in normal mode.

Also, to help with the "focus on one thing" part, I also put a shortcut to the :TilerFocus command, with <leader>f.

And here are my bindings:

nmap <Leader>f :TilerFocus<CR>
nmap <Leader><space> :TilerReorder<CR>

One last thing: The size of the main area is configurable, which is good, since I found it a bit too large. To adjust it, you can use g:tiler#master#size, which is the size of main split. I found 55% to be a good size, so I put

let g:tiler#master#size = 55

And that's it. As usual, it takes some time to put the keybinds in "auto mode" (you know, day-to-day use), but I feel it helps a lot on actually put focus on some task without the cluttering of splits.