Keith Smiley | About | RSS | Mastodon

Vim TagBar with Objective-C

When working with large files in Vim, Tagbar has become an invaluable part of my workflow. It provides a succinct list of methods, modules, variables and other language specific constructs. When I started trying to spend more time in Vim writing Objective-C I was disappointed to see that, out of the box, it was not supported.

Hopefully in the future it won't be difficult to set this up in Vim. Currently ctags already has built in support for Objective-C. Unfortunately there hasn't been a release of ctags since 2009. As recommended in the canonical how to article you can attempt to use the trunk version of ctags and just define the Tagbar settings. For me, this ended up producing a ton of mis-categorized duplicates. I also opened and closed an issue on the Tagbar Github repo hoping that Objective-C support will be added by default in the future.

The only other resource I could find about this issue was this gist. It uses regex to define Objective-C to ctags and then match it with Tagbar. I improved it a little bit and came up with this. Put this file anywhere you want, you will define its path in your vimrc.

--regex-objc=/([-+])[[:space:]]*\([[:alpha:]_][^)]*\)[[:space:]]*([[:alpha:]_][^:;{]+).*/\1\2/M,method definition/

Then in your vimrc:

let g:tagbar_type_objc = {
  \ 'ctagstype': 'objc',
  \ 'ctagsargs': [
    \ '-f',
    \ '-',
    \ '--excmd=pattern',
    \ '--extra=',
    \ '--format=2',
    \ '--fields=nksaSmt',
    \ '--options=' . expand('~/.vim/objctags'),
    \ '--objc-kinds=-N',
  \ ],
  \ 'sro': ' ',
  \ 'kinds': [
    \ 'c:constant',
    \ 'e:enum',
    \ 't:typedef',
    \ 'i:interface',
    \ 'P:protocol',
    \ 'p:property',
    \ 'I:implementation',
    \ 'M:method',
    \ 'g:pragma',
  \ ],
\ }

Replace the ~/.vim/objctags with the path where you chose to put the first file. Please let me know if you see any way that this could be improved.