Using cscope to browse Python code with VIM?


Has anyone managed successfully using cscope with Python code? I have VIM 7.2 and the latest version of cscope installed, however it doesn't get my code's tags correctly (always off by a couple of lines). I tried the pycscope script but its output isn't supported by the modern version of cscope.

Any ideas? Or an alternative for browsing Python code with VIM? (I'm specifically interested in the extra features cscope offers beyond the simple tags of ctags)

9/15/2010 2:55:04 PM

Accepted Answer

  1. From a correspondence with the maintainer of cscope, this tool isn't designed to work with Python, and there are no plans to implement that compatibility. Whatever works now, apparently works by mistake, and there is no promise whatsoever that it will keep working.
  2. It appears I've been using an out-of-date version of pycscope. The latest version 0.3 is supported by the cscope DB. The author of pycscope told me that he figured out the output format for the cscope DB from reading the source code of cscope. That format isn't documented, on purpose, but nevertheless it currently works with pycsope 0.3, which is the solution I'll be using.

I'm going to accept this answer since unfortunately no other answer provided help even after bounty was declared. No answers are upvoted, so I honestly have no idea where the bounty will go.

9/23/2010 3:20:49 PM

EDIT: I'm going to run through the process step by step:

Preparing the sources:

exhuberant ctags, has an option: -x

   Alternatively,  ctags  can generate a cross reference file which lists,
   in human readable form, information about the  various  source  objects
   found in a set of language files.

This is the key to the problem:

 ctags -x $(ls **/*.py);                  # replace with find if no zsh

will give you your database of source objects in a known, format, described under

 man ctags;                               # make sure you use exuberant ctags!

Gnu Global is not limited to only the "out of the box" type of files. Any regular file format will serve.

Also, you can use gtags-cscope, which comes with global as mentioned in section 3.7 of the manual, for a possible shortcut using gtags. You'll end up with an input of a ctags tabular file which Global/gtags can parse to get your objects, or you can use the source for pycscope together with your ctags file of known format to get an input for the vim cscope commands in


Either way it's quite doable.

Perhaps you'd prefer idutils?

Definintely possible since


on pypi makes use of both ctags and idutils to create tag files for a buildout, which is a method I shall investigate in short while.

Of course, you could always use the greputils script below, it has support for idutils , we know idutils works with python, and if that fails, there is also something called vimentry from this year that also uses python, idutils and vim.

Hopefully this helps you with your problem, I certainly helped me. I would have been quite sad tonight with a maggoty pycscope.

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