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Batch Editing
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33.5 Running Editing Scripts Within vi

Because vi is built on top of the ex line editor, you get all the power of a line editor as well. Any experienced vi user issues ex commands all the time - but usually one by one, at the colon prompt.

The one exception is the .exrc file (30.6), which is, at bottom, a list of commands for ex to run on startup - in short, an editor script.

What many beginners don't know is that you can save a sequence of ex commands in any file, and execute it with the :so command (33.4). For example, Bruce Barnett uses this trick to set himself up specially for editing FORTRAN programs (31.11).

In general, sed (34.24) is better for general-purpose batch editing - such as making a set of global substitutions over and over again on multiple files - therefore, :so is most often used for reading in setup commands. Keep in mind though; any time you find yourself issuing the same commands over and over again, think script!


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