A naturally grown .vimrc

Vim is pretty great, honestly. But since I started using vim after growing tired of nano, a lot in my .vimrc changed… To the point where colleagues who use vim on their machine rather use nano on mine before trying to wrap their head around my workflow. Every .vimrc is different and a lot of them exist out there, over twelve thousand repositories of shared vim configurations on GitHub alone and many more on private laptops and computers.

Generally creating a .vimrc works like creating a Makefile: Copy and paste from different sources with small changes until you have an approximation of the desired result and then need to decide whether you want to go the extra mile of dealing with your configurations’ and Vims’ quirks to get it working properly or you just leave it be. This is followed by years of incremental tweaking until you have a Vim environment which works perfectly but you don’t know why. At least that’s how I do it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So I took a dive into my own to see what kind of madness lurks down there…

set nocompatible
set t_Co=16
set shiftwidth=4
set tabstop=4
set autoindent
set smartindent
filetype plugin on
filetype indent on

So far, so good. Nothing special. Other than that indentation is set and overwritten three times, this has not lead to any problems (yet). The next lines are a bit more interesting:

call pathogen#infect()
call pathogen#helptags()
syntax on
set background=dark " dark | light "
colorscheme solarized


pathogen is a runtime manipulator which allows you to add additional plugins to Vim easier, in my case these are vim-solarized, a popular colourscheme, and vim-fugitive, a plugin that adds git commands within Vim. #infect() loads these plugins and #helptags() generates documentation. The following lines make use of solarized and add syntax highlighting.

set nu
set listchars=eol:$,tab:>-,trail:.,extends:>,precedes:<,nbsp:_
set list
let &colorcolumn="121"
set splitbelow
set splitright
set viminfo='20,<1000

This controls numbering and control characters, colorcolumn adds a ugly line over the 121’st char to keep up with coding styles. split tells vim where to add new views when splitting (I rarely use these) and viminfo sets the copy buffer to up to 1000 lines.
Now we get to the really interesting bits, key remaps!

Artist rendition of the authors .vimrc

"See :help map-commands
"n        = Normal only
"v        = Visual only
"i        = Insert only
"         = Normal+Insert+Select only
" nore    = disable recusiveness
"     map = Recursive map

"split window switching
nnoremap <C-J> <C-W><C-J>
nnoremap <C-K> <C-W><C-K>
nnoremap <C-L> <C-W><C-L>
nnoremap <C-H> <C-W><C-H>

"Make Up and Down Arrows move half a screen
"instead of 1 line
noremap <Up> <C-U>
noremap <Down> <C-D>

"BUFFERS Used to be F6,F7. Now used by flake
set hidden
noremap :bprevious
noremap :bnext

"Because buffers change Flake to use F3 instead of F7
"autocmd FileType python map :call Flake8()

"Smart Home key
noremap <expr> <Home> (col('.') == matchend(getline('.'), '^\s*')+1 ? '0' : '^')
imap <Home> <C-o><Home>

Switching windows can be hassle without the first four remaps, but again, I rarely use split windows. Mapping the up and down arrows to jump half a screen instead just one line I added to stop myself from using them instead of j and k, I have grown quite used to it, so it gets to stay ^_^
Buffer remaps are a must! Because I do use them a lot. There have been problems with Flake, a python lint tool, which I tried to avoid by remapping flakes key… Didn’t work out, so I got rid of Flake and call pylint when required instead.

The smart home key makes the <home>-key jump to the first non-whitespace char in a line instead of the begining of the line, quite handy!

"Access commandwindow with ctrl+f or :cedit

"For dorks
map q: :q
command Wsudo w !sudo tee % > /dev/null
"Jump to next line > 120 chars
command Warnl :/\%>120v./+
"For easy copy-paste
command Cpm :set nonu paste cc=  nolist
"Catch regular caps failure
command WQ :wq

These are just a few quality of life improvements, I tend to mistype :q as q: and :wq as :WQ. The :Wsudo command lets me edit read-only files and :Cpm is for easy mouse copy and paste. :Warnl jumps to the next line with more than 120 chars, this again is to check for style problems.

Alright, that’s it. My current .vimrc. There were a few commented out lines I omitted because I have no clue what I was thinking at the time anymore, but I hope there were a few little bits someone else might find useful to feed their own beast of a .vimrc with.

Image sources:
Vim logo from vim.sexy
Shoggoth by twitter.com/nottsuo

Jean-Marcel Flach

Autor: Jean-Marcel Flach

Auch wenn man Anderes vermuten möchte: Jean ist nicht unser französischer Austauschazubi, sondern waschechter Bamberger. Die Uni war ihm zu langweilig, deshalb knöpft er sich nun im Development gleich die kniffligsten Aufgaben vor.

Flexbox in der Praxis: ein paar einfach Beispiele

Inzwischen wird das Flexible Box Layout (kurz FlexBox) ja soweit von Browsern unterstützt, dass es in vielen Fällen auch ruhigen Gewissens für die Produktion verwendet werden kann.

Größtenteils vereint FlexBox viele Layout-Funktionen unter einem Featureset. In erster Linie macht es bestimmte Layout-Funktionen leichter und direkter zugänglich, ohne das Markup verändern zu müssen. Dadurch lassen sich nun relativ elegant und mit wenigen CSS-Angaben viele Layout-Probleme lösen, die man eigentlich schon lange für selbstverständlich hielt.


Florian Strohmaier

Autor: Florian Strohmaier

Mit seinen Spezialgebieten UI-Konzeption, Prototyping und Frontendentwicklung unterstützt Florian das Dev-Team bei NETWAYS. Trotz seines Design-Backgrounds fühlt er sich auch in der Technik zuhause. Gerade die Kombination aus beidem hat für ihn einen besonderen Reiz.

AnsibleFest London

Thilo, mein alter Azubi Kollege, und ich haben dieses Jahr das erste mal am AnsibleFest in London teilgenommen. Ziel davon war es, den Blickwinkel zu erweitern und zu sehen, welche Möglichkeiten es mit Ansible gibt und wie sie von anderen Unternehmen ausgeschöpft werden.
Die Unternehmen, die Vorträge gehalte oder an Interviews teilgenommen haben, erstrecken sich von Siemens, über Ansible selbst bis hin zur britischen Armee. Mich hat sehr erstaunt, dass sogar die britische Armee Ansible im produktiven Einsatz hat und dann auch einen Talk darüber abhält!

Das Ambiente war sehr vornehm. Die Veranstaltung fand im “InterContinental London” statt. Wie wir es von NETWAYS Veranstaltungen schon gewohnt sind, gab es reichlich zu Essen und zu Trinken, was uns nach der etwas längeren Anreise, doch zu Gute kam.

Als OpenSource Firma kommen wir bei NETWAYS immer mehr in Kontakt mit dem Configuration Management Tool Ansible. Bereits die ersten Kunden sind auf uns, eben wegen Ansible zugekommen und haben in Zusammenarbeit mit uns ihr Setup aufgebaut. Die Verwaltung der Produktivsysteme läuft demnach mit Ansible und diese Konfigurationen sind sowohl für uns als Administratoren als auch für den Kunden selbst mittels Git zugänglich. Falls auch ihr euch überlegt, eure Systeme mit Ansible zu verwalten, dann kommt gerne auf uns zu! Wir helfen gerne.

Zum Abschluss sind hier noch Bilder vom Hotel sowie von der Anreise hinterlegt.

Marius Gebert


Marius ist seit September 2013 bei uns beschäftigt. Er hat im Sommer 2016 seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration absolviert und kümmert sich nun um den Support unserer Hostingkunden. Seine besonderen Themengebiete erstrecken sich vom Elastic-Stack bis hin zu Puppet. Auch an unserem Lunchshop ist er ständig zu Gange und versorgt die ganze Firma mit kulinarischen Köstlichkeiten. Seine Freizeit verbringt Marius gern an der frischen Luft und wandert dabei durch die fränkische Schweiz

Documentation matters or why OSMC made me write NSClient++ API docs

Last year I learned about the new HTTP API in NSClient++. I stumbled over it in a blog post with some details, but there were no docs. Instant thought “a software without docs is crap, throw it away”. I am a developer myself, and I know how hard it is to put your code and features into the right shape. And I am all for Open Source, so why not read the source code and reverse engineer the features.

I’ve found out many things, and decided to write a blog post about it. I just had no time, and the old NSClient++ documentation was written in ASCIIDoc. A format which isn’t easy to write, and requires a whole lot knowledge to format and generate readable previews. I skipped it, but I eagerly wanted to have API documentation. Not only for me when I want to look into NSClient++ API queries, but also for anyone out there.


Join the conversation

I met Michael at OSMC 2016 again, and we somehow managed to talk about NSClient++. “The development environment is tricky to setup”, I told him, “and I struggle with writing documentation patches in asciidoc.”. We especially talked about the API parts of the documentation I wanted to contribute.

So we made a deal: If I would write documentation for the NSClient++ API, Michael will go for Markdown as documentation format and convert everything else. Michael was way too fast in December and greeted me with shiny Markdown. I wasn’t ready for it, and time goes by. Lately I have been reviewing Jean’s check_nscp_api plugin to finally release it in Icinga 2 v2.7. And so I looked into NSClient++, its API and my longstanding TODO again.

Documentation provides facts and ideally you can walk from top to down, and an API provides so many things to tell. The NSClient API has a bonus: It renders a web interface in your browser too. While thinking about the documentation structure, I could play around with the queries, online configuration and what not.


Write and test documentation

Markdown is a markup language. You’ll not only put static text into it, but also use certain patterns and structures to render it in a beautiful representation, just like HTML.

A common approach to render Markdown is seen on GitHub who enriched the original specification and created “GitHub flavoured Markdown“. You can easily edit the documentation online on GitHub and render a preview. Once work is done, you send a pull request in couple of clicks. Very easy 🙂

If you are planning to write a massive amount of documentation with many images added, a local checkout of the git repository and your favourite editor comes in handy. vim handles markdown syntax highlighting already. If you have seen GitHub’s Atom editor, you probably know it has many plugins and features. One of them is to highlight Markdown syntax and to provide a live preview. If you want to do it in your browser, switch to dillinger.io.

NSClient++ uses MKDocs for rendering and building docs. You can start an mkdocs instance locally and test your edits “live”, as you would see them on https://docs.nsclient.org.

Since you always need someone who guides you, the first PR I sent over to Michael was exactly to highlight MKDocs inside the README.md 🙂


Already have a solution in mind?

Open the documentation and enhance it. Fix a typo even and help the developers and community members. Don’t move into blaming the developer, that just makes you feel bad. Don’t just wait until someone else will fix it. Not many people love to write documentation.

I kept writing blog posts and wiki articles as my own documentation for things I found over the years. I once stopped with GitHub and Markdown and decided to push my knowledge upstream. Every time I visit the Grafana module for Icinga Web 2 for example, I can use the docs to copy paste configs. Guess what my first contribution to this community project was? 🙂

I gave my word to Michael, and you’ll see how easy it is to write docs for NSClient++ – PR #4.


Lessions learned

Documentation is different from writing a book or an article in a magazine. Take the Icinga 2 book as an example: It provides many hints, hides unnecessary facts and pushes you into a story about a company and which services to monitor. This is more focussed on the problem the reader will be solving. That does not mean that pure documentation can’t be easy to read, but still it requires more attention and your desire to try things.

You can extend the knowledge from reading documentation by moving into training sessions or workshops. It’s a good feeling when you discuss the things you’ve just learned at, or having a G&T in the evening. A special flow – which I cannot really describe – happens during OSMC workshops and hackathons or at an Icinga Camp near you. I always have the feeling that I’ve solved so many questions in so little time. That’s more than I could ever write into a documentation chapter or into a thread over at monitoring-portal.org 🙂

Still, I love to write and enhance documentation. This is the initial kickoff for any howto, training or workshop which might follow. We’re making our life so much easier when things are not asked five times, but they’re visible and available as URL somewhere. I’d like to encourage everyone out there to feel the same about documentation.



Ever thought about “ah, that is missing” and then forgot to tell anyone? Practice a little and get used to GitHub documentation edits, Atom, vim, MkDocs. Adopt that into your workflow and give something back to your open source project heroes. Marianne is doing great with Icinga 2 documentation already! Once your patch gets merged, that’s pure energy, I tell you 🙂

I’m looking forward to meet Michael at OSMC 2017 again and we will have a G&T together for sure. Oh, Michael, btw – you still need to join your Call for Papers. Could it be something about the API with a link to the newly written docs in the slides please? 🙂

PS: Ask my colleagues here at NETWAYS about customer documentation I keep writing. It simply avoids to explain every little detail in mails, tickets and whatnot. Reduce the stress level and make everyone happy with awesome documentation. That’s my spirit 🙂

Michael Friedrich

Autor: Michael Friedrich

Michael ist seit vielen Jahren Icinga Developer und hat sich Ende 2012 in das Abenteuer NETWAYS gewagt. Ein Umzug von Wien nach Nürnberg mit der Vorliebe, österreichische Köstlichkeiten zu importieren - so mancher Kollege verzweifelt an den süchtig machenden Dragee-Keksi. Oder schlicht am österreichischen Dialekt der gerne mit Thomas im Büro intensiviert wird ("Jo eh."). Wenn sich Michael mal nicht im Monitoring-Portal helfend meldet, arbeitet er am nächsten LEGO-Projekt oder geniesst das schöne Nürnberg. Oder - at an Icinga Camp near you 😉

PHP Error – php_network_getaddresses

Ein Problem zu dem es viele Lösungsansätze gibt, ist folgender PHP Fehler. Er tritt beispielsweise auf, beim Verbinden auf externe Anwendungen oder APIs:
php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: No address associated with hostname

Im Netz kursieren Teilweise die wildesten Lösungsansätze. Da ich vor kurzem mit eben diesem Problem konfrontiert wurde, möchte ich meine Erfahrung mit euch teilen. In der “php.ini” gibt es einen Parameter, der diesen Fehler verursachen kann.

Dieser kann unterschiedlich gefüllt sein und ist per default leer.

disable_functions = pcntl_alarm,pcntl_fork,,pcntl_wait,pcntl_wifexited,pcntl_wifstopped,pcntl_wifsignaled,pcntl_wexitstatus,pcntl_wtermsig,,pcntl_signal,,pcntl_get_last_error,pcntl_strerror,pcntl_sigprocmask,pcntl_sigwaitinfo,,pcntl_exec,pcntl_getpriority,pcntl_setpriority

Um obigen Fehler zu beheben, kann es also reichen, sich diesen Parameter anzusehen und notfalls sogar komplett zu leeren.

Marius Gebert


Marius ist seit September 2013 bei uns beschäftigt. Er hat im Sommer 2016 seine Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker für Systemintegration absolviert und kümmert sich nun um den Support unserer Hostingkunden. Seine besonderen Themengebiete erstrecken sich vom Elastic-Stack bis hin zu Puppet. Auch an unserem Lunchshop ist er ständig zu Gange und versorgt die ganze Firma mit kulinarischen Köstlichkeiten. Seine Freizeit verbringt Marius gern an der frischen Luft und wandert dabei durch die fränkische Schweiz

Monthly Snap May < GitLab CE, Icinga 2, NWS, OSDC, Ubuntu, Graphite, Puppet, SuiteCRM

In May, Achim started with GitLab CE, while Florian presented Vanilla.
Then, Lennart wrote the fifth part of his Icinga Best Practices and Isabel told us about the MultiTech MTD-H5-2.0.
Martin K. continued with external monitoring of websites and services with Icinga 2 while Julia gave a triple hurray to our OSDC-sponsors. Stefan G. gave an insight in his „Mission Loadbalancer Upgrade“ and Blerim tested Ruby applications with RSpec and WebMock.
Lennart published part 3 and 4 of „Icinga 2 – Automated Monitoring with Puppet“, Martin K. showed the benefits of our SuiteCRM Hosting while Marius G. told us the upcoming death of Ubuntu Unity.
May went on with the OSDC in Berlin and the reports from Isabel, Julia, Michi and Dirk.
Then Thomas Widhalm continued with the Carbon Relay for Graphite and Christian wrote about the Icinga 2 Satellite in NWS.
Towards the end of May, Christian announced some new webinars and Gabriel gave an insight in his work at NETWAYS!

Julia Hackbarth

Autor: Julia Hackbarth

Julia hat 2017 ihre Ausbildung zum Office Manager bei NETWAYS absolviert und währenddessen das Events&Marketing Team kennen und lieben gelernt. Besondere Freude bereiten ihr bei NETWAYS die tolle Teamarbeit und vielseitige Herausforderungen. Privat nutzt Julia ihre freie Zeit, um so oft wie möglich über's Handballfeld zu flitzen und sich auszutoben. In ihrer neuen Rolle als Marketing Managerin freut sie sich auf spannende Aufgaben und hofft, dass ihr die Ideen für kreative Texte nicht so schnell ausgehen.