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Last active Jun 19, 2020
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Using Vimwiki like a standard desktop application

I've started using Vimwiki recently, mostly for note keeping, and this post is about how I integrated it into my workflow.

The main feature I use from Vimwiki is the Diary. And the way I've used past note taking applications were always in short bursts.

  1. Have an idea
  2. Launch the note-taking application
  3. Type in note
  4. Quit application.

As I don't use GVim anymore, to write a note with Vimwiki I would need an additional "Open Terminal" step in that list. However, I can take advantage of Terminator's profiles for a quicker launch.

If you're looking for a terminal emulator you can't go wrong with Terminator. I particularly enjoy terminal splitting support without needing to use a terminal multiplexer like screen/tmux.

I've created a new Terminator profile that launches vim with Vimwiki in diary mode. The profile, as stored in ~/.config/terminator/config

    icon_bell = False
    background_color = "#300a24"
    cursor_blink = False
    cursor_color = "#aaaaaa"
    font = Inconsolata Medium 12
    foreground_color = "#ffffff"
    show_titlebar = False
    scrollbar_position = hidden
    use_custom_command = True
    custom_command = vim -c VimwikiMakeDiaryNote
    use_system_font = False

The most important directives are use_custom_command and custom_command, but I enjoy the additional tweaks like hiding the scrollbar, title bar, and whatever visual style I like right now.

Then I've created a .desktop file to customize the appearance, which makes it clear I'm launching Vimwiki and not another Terminator instance. Source of my ~/.local/share/applications/vimwiki.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/kstart --alldesktops /usr/bin/terminator --profile vimwiki --title Vimwiki --geometry 720x600+200+200
  1. --alldesktops as the name suggests, Vimwiki will be available on all my different desktops (workspaces). I use multiple workspaces when working, so it's quite handy that the window follows me around.
  2. --profile matches the profile configured in Terminator
  3. --title forces the specified title for the newly launched Terminator instance. By default, it would be the shell executable path.
  4. --geometry allows me to adjust the window dimension and offsets. The default Terminator size feels a bit constrictive, which I always end up resizing. Doing that every time I want to take a note is a chore.

While Vimwiki seems to have a new logo, it doesn't serve well as an application icon. Because of that, I've downloaded an older logo that I still found online, and copied it to ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor/64x64/apps/vimwiki.png

Granted the old logo isn't perfect either, as only the WIKI word is readable.

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