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i3bindings

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Succinct syntax for i3 config

TL;DR

Check out this example.

Installation

pip install i3bindings

Usage

  1. Create input_file using Concepts bellow.
  2. Try it with i3bindings input_file
  3. Write it to i3 config using i3bindings --write input_file

Check out i3bindings --help for more options.

Concepts

Mapping types

i3bindings supports two types of mappings:

  1. Key binding, where $mod+f -> fullscreen toggle becomes bindsym $mod+f fullscreen toggle
  2. Exec binding, where $mod+Return #> xterm becomes bindsym $mod+Return exec --no-startup-id xterm

Alternatives

Alternatives express the idea that the same action should be bound to multiple key-bindings.

For example:

$mod+h/Left -> focus left will create two lines of config:

bindsym $mod+h focus left and bindsym $mod+Left focues left

Variables

Variables are shorter way to write bindings that have a similar structure.

E.g.: $mod+{f,s} -> {fullscreen,split} toggle will create:

bindsym $mod+f fullscreen toggle bindsym $mod+s split toggle

Range expansion

Inside variables you can write 1-10 and it will be expanded to 1,2,3....

Variable reference

You can reference current value of the variable using @n syntax, where n is the variable index. Every variable is numbered (starting from 0) from left to right. E.g.:

foo {bar,{foo,bar}} {0-1} ...
    ^    ^          ^
    0    1          2

Use it like this: $mod+Control+Shift {1-9,0} -> move container to workspace {1-10}; workspace @1

Or to avoid repeating long sequences:

$mod+x -> {[instance=\"calculator\"]} scratchpad show; @0 move position center

Empty value

You can use empty value inside Variable, denoted by _. E.g. $mod+{_,Shift+}{h/Left,j/Down,k/Up,l/Right} -> {focus,move} {left,down,up,right}. This will expand to both bindsym $mod+h focus left and bindsym $mod+Shift+h move left

Nesting

You can use Alternatives and Variables inside Variable to create many bindings at once.

Additional syntax

Parenthesis

By default, special characters like space, plus sign, etc. are token separators. $mod+p/Print is therefore expanded to $mod+p and $mod+Print. You can use parenthesis to modify the behavior: ($mod+p/Print) #> scrot will create two lines of config: bindsym $mod+p exec --no-startup-id scrot and bindsym Print exec --no-startup-id scrot

Comments

Empty lines or lines starting with # will be ignored.

Example

To demonstrate the syntax have a look at this input file:

    $mod+{_,Shift+}{h/Left,j/Down,k/Up,l/Right}         -> {focus,move} {left,down,up,right}
    $mod+Control+Shift+{{h/Left,k/Up},{l/Right,j/Down}} -> resize {shrink,grow} {width,height} 5px or 5ppt
    $mod+{_,Shift+}{1-9,0}                              -> {_,move container to }workspace {1-10}
    $mod+Control+Shift {1-9,0}                          -> move container to workspace {1-10}; workspace @1
    # vim:filetype=config

The expanded version creates this i3 config:

    bindsym $mod+h focus left
    bindsym $mod+Left focus left
    bindsym $mod+j focus down
    bindsym $mod+Down focus down
    bindsym $mod+k focus up
    bindsym $mod+Up focus up
    bindsym $mod+l focus right
    bindsym $mod+Right focus right
    bindsym $mod+Shift+h move left
    bindsym $mod+Shift+Left move left
    bindsym $mod+Shift+j move down
    bindsym $mod+Shift+Down move down
    bindsym $mod+Shift+k move up
    bindsym $mod+Shift+Up move up
    bindsym $mod+Shift+l move right
    bindsym $mod+Shift+Right move right
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+h resize shrink width 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+Left resize shrink width 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+k resize shrink height 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+Up resize shrink height 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+l resize grow width 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+Right resize grow width 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+j resize grow height 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift+Down resize grow height 5px or 5ppt
    bindsym $mod+1 workspace 1
    bindsym $mod+2 workspace 2
    bindsym $mod+3 workspace 3
    bindsym $mod+4 workspace 4
    bindsym $mod+5 workspace 5
    bindsym $mod+6 workspace 6
    bindsym $mod+7 workspace 7
    bindsym $mod+8 workspace 8
    bindsym $mod+9 workspace 9
    bindsym $mod+0 workspace 10
    bindsym $mod+Shift+1 move container to workspace 1
    bindsym $mod+Shift+2 move container to workspace 2
    bindsym $mod+Shift+3 move container to workspace 3
    bindsym $mod+Shift+4 move container to workspace 4
    bindsym $mod+Shift+5 move container to workspace 5
    bindsym $mod+Shift+6 move container to workspace 6
    bindsym $mod+Shift+7 move container to workspace 7
    bindsym $mod+Shift+8 move container to workspace 8
    bindsym $mod+Shift+9 move container to workspace 9
    bindsym $mod+Shift+0 move container to workspace 10
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 1 move container to workspace 1; workspace 1
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 2 move container to workspace 2; workspace 2
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 3 move container to workspace 3; workspace 3
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 4 move container to workspace 4; workspace 4
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 5 move container to workspace 5; workspace 5
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 6 move container to workspace 6; workspace 6
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 7 move container to workspace 7; workspace 7
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 8 move container to workspace 8; workspace 8
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 9 move container to workspace 9; workspace 9
    bindsym $mod+Control+Shift 0 move container to workspace 10; workspace 10

Background

i3 is a great windows manager but its config is pretty verbose. I tried bspwm with its hotkey daemon sxhkd and I much prefer that syntax. That's why I wrote i3bindings. It uses syntax similar to sxhkd for expansion of binding parameters, e.g. $mod+{1-9,0} -> workspace {1-10} will become bindsym $mod+1 workspace 1, bindsym $mod+2 workspace 2, and so on. In addition, it has few more features.

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