Robert Basic's blog

Archive for the 'Programming' category

Vim Hugo helper

by Robert Basic on March 25, 2016.

I think I just wrote my first Vim plugin. OK, it’s more a bunch of Vim functions slapped together than an actual plugin, but gotta start somewhere, right?

Last week I converted this blog to a static web site and I’m using Hugo as the static website engine. Writing posts is a lot easier now, plus it’s written in Go, which I started learning a few weeks ago.

Vim Hugo helper is a plugin, collection of Vim functions that help me while writing posts. It will hopefully speed up a few recurring tasks such as drafting and undrafting posts, inserting code highlight blocks, etc. I guess I’ll be adding more to it in the future, but for now it has a total of 5 functions.

Front matter reorder

Hugo posts have a front matter which is basically meta data for the content. Hugo will create the front matter out of an archetype which is a template of sorts for the front matter. One thing I don’t like is that when a new post is created, the meta data is sorted alphabetically so the HugoHelperFrontMatterReorder function reorders it in the way that I do like.

Drafting/undrafting posts

The HugoHelperDraft and HugoHelperUndraft functions simply draft and undraft posts by setting the draft meta data in the front matter to either true or false.

Code highlight blocks

The HugoHelperHighlight(‘language’) function inserts the highlight shortcode that comes built-in with Hugo and sets the language of the highlight block.

Setting the date of the post

Finally, the HugoHelperDateIsNow function sets the date meta data of the post to the current date and time.

It’s not much, definitely has room for improvements, but I used it even when writing this very post, so I guess this helper is helpful.

Tags: hugo, plugin, vim.
Categories: Development, Programming.

Tags for PHP in Vim

by Robert Basic on March 09, 2016.

One thing I was missing for a long time in Vim is to be able to “jump to definition” in an easy and painless way.

The other thing I wanted to improve is to be able to tell easily where am I actually in the code base; to see the current class and method name of wherever the cursor was.

With a bit of googling and poking around, I finally came up with a perfect combo of 5 plugins (yep, five!) that enables me to do both, and a little bit of extra.

Tags made easy

Gutentags  is a brilliant Vim plugin that makes it so easy to have tags. Just install the plugin and boom! Tags! It will figure out things on it’s own and just generate the tags in the background. I use it daily for a fairly large code base and I never had any problems with the tags, or with Vim being unresponsive while the tags are being generated.

The only two settings I have set for it is what to exclude and where to store the tag files to not pollute the current project with them.

let g:gutentags_exclude = ['*.css', '*.html', '*.js']
let g:gutentags_cache_dir = '~/.vim/gutentags'

That’s it.

Jump to definition

Pair gutentags with CtrlP and it’s CtrlPTag method and we get jump to definition.

map <silent> <leader>jd :CtrlPTag<cr><c-\>w

Move to the method name we’re interested in, hit <leader>jd and it will jump to it’s definition. Tip: <C->w means “insert word under cursor”.

Where the hell am I?

My second requirement for displaying the current class and method name was a bit more difficult to fulfill. It takes the tagbar, tagbar-phpctags and lightline plugins as well as the phpctags tag generator to accomplish that.

Let the tagbar plugin know where the phpctags bin is:

let g:tagbar_phpctags_bin='~/.vim/phpctags'

This will make the tagbar plugin use phpctags to generate tags for the current file. To finally display the current tag in lightline, I wrote a simple tagbar component for it:

'tagbar': '%{tagbar#currenttag("[%s]", "", "f")}'

My complete lightline settings at the time of writing this can be found here.

Tags: gutentags, lightline, php, tagbar, tags, vim.
Categories: Development, Programming, Software.

pugdebug 1.0.0.

by Robert Basic on July 01, 2015.

After 3 months since announcing that I’m working on pugdebug, and some 5 months since I actually started working on it, it is finally time to let version 1.0.0 out in the wild.

It’s been a busy 3 months: 82 pull requests got merged, 67 issues resolved, more than 350 commits pushed. A lot of changes, fixes and improvements found their way into this first version.

First of all, a big thanks goes out to Ivan Habunek and Srdjan Vranac for helping. They asked for and added new features, tested on Windows and OSX systems, helped fleshing out ideas.

One of the biggest news is that there are binaries built for Linux and Windows operating systems, using pyinstaller. These binaries include everything pugdebug needs to work so there is no need to install anything. Just download the binary for your system and run it. That’s it. It makes me incredibly happy that it’s possible to have it this simple to run and use pugdebug.


The user interface has improved a great deal. It is using dockable widgets for different pieces of the UI, making the layout of the application configurable by just dragging the widgets around. It’s not all great though, there’s still room for improvement, but it will be better over time.

pugdebug allows to debug multiple requests one after the other which helps debugging in a more “complicated” scenario where there are, for example, multiple AJAX calls triggered in succession. By starting to listen to incomming connections, pugdebug will listen to all incoming connections and, based on the IDE key setting, decide should the connection be queued for debugging, or ignored.

It is also now possible to create projects inside pugdebug, as a way to help switching between different PHP projects where debugging is needed. Simply name the project, set it’s settings and that’s it. pugdebug stores all the configuration files in it’s own directory, so nothing will be added to your PHP projects.

I’m especially happy and proud that pugdebug got included on Xdebug’s website on the list of remote debugging clients. Thanks to Derick Rethans!

For more information on how to use pugdebug, take a look at the read me file or the wiki and let me know if you have any issues with it!

Tags: debugging, pugdebug, pyqt, python, qt, stable, xdebug.
Categories: Development, Programming, Software.

Introducing pugdebug

by Robert Basic on April 01, 2015.

In my spare time in the past few months I was working on a tool that would help me in my every day job as a PHP programmer. As you may, or may not, know, I’m using vim as my editor/almost IDE, but one thing that is missing from it is the ability to debug PHP files remotely. Yes, there are a bunch of plugins out there that add debugging to vim, but none of them felt usable for me.

And based on my google searches, there are no standalone remote debuggers for PHP, that work on Linux.

In February this year I started to work on a desktop application that would help me address this issue.


pugdebug  is a PyQt desktop application meant to be used as a remote debugger for PHP, that communicates with xdebug.

It is meant to be a debugger and only a debugger. There are a plenty of (good) IDEs that include remote debugging and I’m not going to start writing another one (although I did start one, once).

The application is still pretty simple, ugly as hell, but it works. Sort of. There are still a few kinks left to sort out and I’m doing my best to write them all down.

It’s dependencies are Python 3.4, Qt 5.4, SIP 4.6 and PyQt 5.4. The read me file should have a bit more details on how to start using it. I know it’s a bit messy to set everything up, but I am working on building executables for different Linux distros. That stuff is hard!

It is lincesed under the GNU GPL v3 license, because PyQt.

Using pugdebug

Start the application, click the start button and then it waits for incomming connections. Load a PHP page to start a HTTP debug session, and pugdebug should break on the first line of your code.

Stepping around the code is possible with the step into, step out and step over commands. At each step, pugdebug will get the current variables state from xdebug and display them.

Double clicking on lines in the code viewer will set breakpoints on those lines. Do note though that there needs to be a debugging session active to be able to set a breakpoint. This will change in the (near) future.

And that’s about it. While I know it doesn’t look like much, this was, and still is, a nice learning experience for me and the best part of it is that I was using pugdebug earlier this week to debug a PHP application I’m working on.

Tags: debugging, pugdebug, pyqt, python, qt, xdebug.
Categories: Development, Programming, Software.

Install PyQt5 in Python 3 virtual environment

by Robert Basic on February 04, 2015.
Heads-up! You're reading an old post and the information in it is quite probably outdated.

It’s been a while since I last made something with PyQt, so I decided to check out what’s it like nowadays. I’m curious to see what’s new in Qt5 and how does it differ from Qt4. Qt5 also can run under python 3 so I figured to give it a try.

Fedora 21 comes with both python 2.7 and python 3.4, but the default version is 2.7, which means if PyQt5 is installed through the package manager, it will be installed against 2.7. As I’m not currently in the mood of bricking my laptop by changing the default python version, I decided to install PyQt5 in a python virtual environment. Btw, Fedora 22 should have python 3 by default.

In the code samples below, assume the working directory is always ~/pyqt.

Create a virtual environment

First off, let’s create a virtualenv with python 3.4:

virtualenv --python=python3.4 env

Activate the virtualenv and check the python version to verify:

source env/bin/activate
python --version

And that should print something like Python 3.4.1. Leave the virtualenv active, as that’s where PyQt5 is going to be installed.

PyQt5 dependencies

Cool, now with that set up, let’s get PyQt5 dependencies sorted out:

sudo yum install gcc gcc-c++ python3-devel qt5-base qt5-base-devel

As the documentation says, SIP must be installed before PyQt5. Lets grab the sources, configure and make and install them.

tar xzf sip-4.16.5.tar.gz
cd sip-4.16.5
sudo make install
cd ..
rm -r sip-4.16.5*

Not sure why I had to do sudo make install. Verify sip is installed correctly by starting a python shell and typing in the following:

import sip

That should show the sip version 4.16.5.

Installing PyQt5

All the dependencies should be met now, so let’s install PyQt5.

tar xzf PyQt-gpl-5.4.tar.gz
cd PyQt-gpl-5.4
python --qmake /usr/bin/qmake-qt5
make install
cd ..
rm -r PyQt-gpl-54*

This will install PyQt5 with the basic modules such as QtCore, QtWidgets and QtSql. Check the output of the python step to see what modules will be installed. If you need additional modules in your PyQt5 setup, you’ll have to install additional Qt packages on your system. For example, to get the QtWebKit module, install the qt5-qtwebkit package through your package manager first.

Writing a basic PyQt5 app we can verify that it all works. Save the following as

import sys
from PyQt5.QtWidgets import QApplication, QMainWindow
if __name__ == "__main__":
    app = QApplication(sys.argv)
    window = QMainWindow()

Running it with python should start the application that’s just one small window.

Happy hacking!

Tags: pyqt5, python, virtualenv.
Categories: Development, Programming, Software.