Search Ruby Method Declarations in vim

Dec 17, 2017

While searching method declarations in vim can be tricky and you can use ctags, I found that using ag or the silver searcher yields great results.

I’ve been an active vim user for almost 2 years now and primarily develop Rails apps. I started using vim because I really liked the idea of having your entire development environment on one screen.

Run your server, tests, install gems, write code, without leaving or Alt + Tab‘ing out.

As developers, we occasionally find the need to search for the method declaration. Here are a couple vimscript functions you can use along with <Leader> commands to efficiently search for the method declarations and increase productivity.

function! SearchForDeclarationCursor()
  let searchTerm = expand("<cword>")
  call SearchForDeclaration(searchTerm)

Here we just expand and capture the word where the cursor is.

function! SearchForDeclaration(term)
  let definition = 'def ' . a:term
  cexpr system('ag -w ' . shellescape(definition))

This function prepends the word def with the search term. This will give you a string like def some_method. system function executes any bash commands provided to it. The -w option matches the exact search term, thereby giving us accurate results.

And finally, we can map this to a <Leader> command.

map <Leader>cd :call SearchForDeclarationCursor()<CR>

Hope this helps ya’ll!