Nvim documentation: channel

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*channel.txt*    Nvim


		 NVIM REFERENCE MANUAL    by Thiago de Arruda



Nvim asynchronous IO					*channel*

				      Type |gO| to see the table of contents.

==============================================================================

1. Introduction						    *channel-intro*

Channels are nvim's way of communicating with external processes.

There are several ways to open a channel:

  1. Through stdin/stdout when `nvim` is started with `--headless`, and a startup
     script or --cmd  command opens the stdio channel using |stdioopen()|.

  2. Through stdin, stdout and stderr of a process spawned by |jobstart()|.

  3. Through the PTY master end of a PTY opened with
     `jobstart(..., {'pty': v:true})` or |termopen()|.

  4. By connecting to a TCP/IP socket or named pipe with |sockconnect()|.

  5. By another process connecting to a socket listened to by nvim. This only
     supports RPC channels, see |rpc-connecting|.

Channels support multiple modes or protocols. In the most basic
mode of operation, raw bytes are read and written to the channel.
The |rpc| protocol, based on the msgpack-rpc standard, enables nvim and the
process at the other end to send remote calls and events to each other.
The builtin |terminal-emulator| is also implemented on top of PTY channels.


Channel Id						*channel-id*

Each channel is identified by an integer id, unique for the life of the
current Nvim session. Functions like |stdioopen()| return channel ids;
functions like |chansend()| consume channel ids.

==============================================================================

2. Reading and writing raw bytes			      *channel-bytes*

By default, channels opened by vimscript functions will operate with raw
bytes. Additionally, for a job channel using rpc, bytes can still be
read over its stderr. Similarily, only bytes can be written to nvim's own stderr.


						    *channel-callback* *buffered*

				*E5210* *on_stdout* *on_stderr* *on_stdin* *on_data*
It is possible to register callback functions when a channel receives data by
passing the `on_stdout`, `on_stderr`, `on_stdin` options on creation. Sockets
may specify an `on_data` callback instead. Each callback function will be
invoked with data read from the channel. By default, the callback will be
invoked immediately when data is available, to facilitate interactive
communication. The same callback will then be invoked with empty data, to
indicate that the stream reached EOF. Alternatively the `stdout_buffered`,
`stderr_buffered`, `stdin_buffered`, `data_buffered` options can be set to
invoke the corresponding callback only when the underlying stream reaches EOF.
The callback will then be passed complete output. This is helpful when only
the complete output is useful, and not partial data. Futhermore if the stream
is set to be buffered, but the callback is not set, the data is saved in the
options dict, with the stream name as key. For this to work a new options dict
must be used for each opened channel. If a script uses a global `s:job_opts`
dict, it can be copied with |copy()| before supplying it to |jobstart()|. If a
dict is reused, so that the dict key already is occupied, error `E5210` will
be raised.

- The arguments passed to the callback function are:

  0: |channel-id|
  1: Raw data read from the channel, formatted as a YXXYreadfile()|-style
     list. If EOF occured, a single empty string `['']` will be passed in.
     Note that the items in this list do not directly correspond to actual
     lines in the output. See |channel-lines|
  2: Stream name as a string, like `"stdout"`. This is to allow multiple
  stream handlers to be implemented by the same function. The available
  events depend on how the channel was opened and in what mode/protocol.


							      *channel-lines*
  Note:
	stream event handlers may receive partial (incomplete) lines. For a given
	invocation of on_stdout etc, `a:data` is not guaranteed to end
	with a newline.
	  - `abcdefg` may arrive as `['abc']`, `['defg']`.
	  - `abc\nefg` may arrive as `['abc', '']`, `['efg']` or `['abc']`,
	    `['','efg']`, or even `['ab']`, `['c','efg']`.
	
	If you only are interested in complete output when the process exits,
	use buffered mode. Otherwise, an easy way to deal with this:
	initialize a list as `['']`, then append to it as follows:
	  let s:chunks = ['']
	  func! s:on_event(job_id, data, event) dict
	    let s:chunks[-1] .= a:data[0]
	    call extend(s:chunks, a:data[1:])
	  endf
 

Additionally, if the callbacks are Dictionary functions, |self| can be used to
refer to the options dictionary containing the callbacks. |Partial|s can also be
used as callbacks.

Data can be sent to the channel using the |chansend()| function. Here is a
simple example, echoing some data through a cat-process:

    function! s:OnEvent(id, data, event) dict
      let str = join(a:data, "\n")
      echomsg str
    endfunction
    let id = jobstart(['cat'], {'on_stdout': function('s:OnEvent') } )
    call chansend(id, "hello!")
 

Here is a example of setting a buffer to the result of grep, but only after
all data has been processed:

    function! s:OnEvent(id, data, event) dict
      call nvim_buf_set_lines(2, 0, -1, v:true, a:data)
    endfunction
    let id = jobstart(['grep', '^[0-9]'], { 'on_stdout': function('s:OnEvent'),
					  \ 'stdout_buffered':v:true } )

    call chansend(id, "stuff\n10 PRINT \"NVIM\"\nxx")
    " no output is received, buffer is empty

    call chansend(id, "xx\n20 GOTO 10\nzz\n")
    call chanclose(id, 'stdin')
    " now buffer has result
 
For additional examples with jobs, see |job-control|.


							      *channel-pty*
Special case: PTY channels opened with `jobstart(..., {'pty': v:true})` do not
preprocess ANSI escape sequences, these will be sent raw to the callback.
However, change of PTY size can be signaled to the slave using |jobresize()|.
See also |terminal-emulator|.

Terminal characteristics (termios) for |:terminal| and PTY channels are copied
from the host TTY, or if Nvim is |--headless| it uses default values:
    :echo system('nvim --headless +"te stty -a" +"sleep 1" +"1,/^$/print" +q')

==============================================================================

3. Communicating using msgpack-rpc			      *channel-rpc*

When channels are opened with the `rpc` option set to true, the channel can be
used for remote method calls in both directions, see |msgpack-rpc|. Note that
rpc channels are implicitly trusted and the process at the other end can
invoke any |api| function!

==============================================================================

4. Standard IO channel					    *channel-stdio*

Nvim uses stdin/stdout to interact with the user over the terminal interface
(TUI). If Nvim is |--headless| the TUI is not started and stdin/stdout can be
used as a channel. See also |--embed|.

Call |stdioopen()| during |startup| to open the stdio channel as |channel-id| 1.
Nvim's stderr is always available as |v:stderr|, a write-only bytes channel.

Example:
    func! OnEvent(id, data, event)
      if a:data == [""]
        quit
      end
      call chansend(a:id, map(a:data, {i,v -> toupper(v)}))
    endfunc
    call stdioopen({'on_stdin': 'OnEvent'})
 
Put this in `uppercase.vim` and run: 
    nvim --headless --cmd "source uppercase.vim"

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