Saving one keystroke on entering command-line command

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Here is a demonstration of one of probably not that well known property of Vim's command parser:

" change directory to root of file system
" make selected file(s) executable
" define 'hi' command probably replacing existing command with the same name
:command!hi :echo 'Hi, '.$USER

Note absence of space between name of the command (:cd) and its argument (/).

As one might guess, the same applies to Vifm.

Why it works

Because of limited number of allowed characters in command names. This makes unambiguous parsing of command name and its arguments possible in most cases as:

  • no special symbols are allowed in the middle of command names;
  • special symbols after command name (or !/? at the end of user-defined command name) separate the name from arguments;
  • whitespace characters before/between/after arguments are skipped.

When it works

For any command when no ambiguity is created. Here is an example where it does not work:

:commandname :echo $USER

Here command is immediately followed by name leaving no changes for Vifm to figure out whether it's :commandname command or :command followed by its first argument name. It's not a technical problem to guess command names, but it would lead to semantic changes in the presense of :commandname command, which is undesireable.