Poor man's snippets in Kakoune

Updated 06 Apr 2021  · 

I wanted a simple, no-plugins solution for inserting various bits of text into the buffer. Here’s what I came up with.

I have a folder of snippet files at ~/.config/kak/snippets/. Each file is a .txt with the contents of what I want inserted. For example, here’s a snippet for inserting a YAML frontmatter in markdown files.

title: $1
date: $2
tags: $3

For inserting these snippets, I came up with the following Kakoune command:

define-command insert-snippet -params 1 -menu -shell-script-candidates %{
    fd --type file . ~/.config/kak/snippets/ | awk -F '/' '{print $NF}'
} %{ execute-keys "|cat ~/.config/kak/snippets/%arg{1}<ret>s\$\d<ret>n"
} -docstring "poor man's snippets"

It populates the command completion menu with filenames from the snippets folder. Once a snippet is selected:

I can then press c to change the content of $1 and press n to select the next placeholder for changing.

Ideally, it would also automatically change the date placeholder with the output of date, but for now I’m just using a separate insert-date command for that:

define-command insert-date %{
    execute-keys -draft "|date +%%Y-%%m-%%d<ret>"
} -docstring 'insert current date'