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Waylon Walker
Waylon Walker

Posted on • Originally published at

Serve html from your command line

When I first moved to vim from and ide like vscode or sublime text one of my very first issues was trying to preview my website at localhost:8000. There had always just been a button there to do it in all of my other editors, not vim. There are not many buttons for anything in vim. While there is probably a plugin that can run a webserver for me in vim, it's not necessary, we just need the command line we are already in.

running a separate process

You will need a way to run another process alongside vim, here are a couple ideas to get you going that are not the focus

  • use background jobs
    • c-z to send a job to the background
    • fg to bring it back
  • use a second terminal
  • use a second tab
  • use tmux and run it in a separate split/window
  • use an embeded nvim terminal

running a development webserver from the command line

Python already exists on most linux systems by default, and most are now on python3. If you are on windows typing python will take you directly to the windows store to install it, or you can also use wsl.

# python3
python -m http.server

# running on port 5000
python -m http.server --directory markout 5000
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# for the low chance you are on python2
python -m SimpleHTTPServer

# running on port 5000
python -m SimpleHTTPServer 5000
python -m SimpleHTTPServer --directory markout 5000

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running a python static webserver from the command line

using nodejs

If you are a web developer it's likely that you need nodejs and npm on your system anyways and may want to use one of the servers from npm. I'll admit with these not being tied to the long term support of a language they are much more feature rich with things like compression out of the box. In my opinion they are nice things that you would want out of a production server, but may not be necessary for development.

installing npx

# if you don't alredy have npx
npm i -g npx
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npx is a handy tool that lets you run command line applications straight from npm without installing them. It pulls the latest version every time you want to run, then executes it without it being installed.

running the http-server with npx

npx http-server

# running on port 5000
npx http-server -p 5000
npx http-server markout -p 5000

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running a nodejs static webserver from the command line


I am shortening up my content pipeline by releasing short #til articles The full list of them is posted on my website.



Top comments (3)

monamore profile image

How do you set up a local testing server? Underwear love spell

waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Sounds like you would like to share this with someone that is not on your same network. (if they are on the same network then just have them use your local ip instead of localhost eg:

I have never used it, but I have heard good thinga about local tunnel, for sharing a local dev server with someone outside of your network.

naiveinvestigator profile image

TYSM!! this is short and concise exactly wot i needed! i also started vim a while ago and was puzzled.