Use plain Vim to merge conflicts

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plain Vim to merge conflicts :vim:en:

I will explain how to resolve code merge conflicts with plain vim. The only third party plugin required is vim-unimpaired.

The reason to use vim is that I can't use vimdiff as a merge tool for certain VCS (CVS, Subversion, Perforce, …).

A typical file in conflict is like:

hello world
hello world
<<<<<<< .mine
This is fun stuff!
This is a documentation file
>>>>>>> .r6
bye world
bye world

Let's call lines like ">>>>>>>", "<<<<<<<" and "=====" conflict markers.

Resolving conflicts is the operation of picking up either or both of the sections between markers.

Basic knowledge of Vim

  • "]n" move the focus to the next marker and "[n" to the previous marker.
  • "dd" delete current line
  • "d]n" delete from current line to the next marker (next marker exclusive)


Our workflow is actually simple:

  • Step 1, find the next marker by pressing "]n"
  • Step 2, "]nd]n[ndd[ndd" to pick up the section 1
  • Step 3, "d]ndd]ndd" to pick up the section 2, go to step 1

This workflow is compatible with any version control software.

Optionally you can set the shortcut for step 2 and step 3:

map <leader>dg1 ]nd]n[ndd[ndd
map <leader>dg2 d]ndd]ndd
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