ropemacs /

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ropemacs, rope in emacs

Ropemacs is an emacs mode that uses rope library to provide features like python refactorings and code-assists. You should install rope library and pymacs before using ropemacs.

New Features

  • added ropemacs-guess-project variable
  • added rope-run-module command
  • showing line-number in occurrences buffer
  • fixed go to occurrence in xemacs
  • fixed error messages that contain percent sign
  • fixed ask directory and entering default directory

Setting Up

After installing pymacs, add these lines to your ~/.emacs file:

(require 'pymacs)
(pymacs-load "ropemacs" "rope-")

Note that rope and ropemacs should be in your PYTHONPATH for this to work.

Loading Lazily

If you want to load ropemacs only when you really need it, you can use a function like this in your ~/.emacs:

(defun load-ropemacs ()
  "Load pymacs and ropemacs"
  (require 'pymacs)
  (pymacs-load "ropemacs" "rope-")
  ;; Automatically save project python buffers before refactorings
  (setq ropemacs-confirm-saving 'nil)
(global-set-key "\C-xpl" 'load-ropemacs)

And execute load-ropemacs (or use C-x p l) whenever you want to use ropemacs.

Not Installing

If you don't want to install rope library and ropemacs you can extract them somewhere and add these lines to your .emacs:

;; Add this before loading pymacs if you haven't installed rope and ropemacs
(setq pymacs-load-path '("/path/to/rope"

Multiple Python Versions

Rope needs at least Python2.5. If you have older versions of Python you can use PYMACS_PYTHON environment variable. You can add:

(setenv "PYMACS_PYTHON" "python2.5")

to force pymacs to use Python2.5.

Ropemacs Minor Mode

Ropemacs registers its local keys when ropemacs-mode is enabled. By default it is enabled using python-mode hook (this hook is available if you are using Emacs' python.el or XEmacs' python-mode.el). If you want to enable it in other major modes either execute ropemacs-mode manually or call it in some other hook.

Getting Started

Refactoring Dialog

Ropemacs refactorings use a special kind of dialog. When you start a refactoring, you'll be asked to confirm saving modified python buffers; you can change it by using ropemacs-confirm-saving variable. Adding (setq ropemacs-confirm-saving 'nil) to your .emacs file, will make emacs save them without asking.

After that depending on the refactoring, you'll be asked about the essential information a refactoring needs to know (like the new name in rename refactoring). You can skip it by prefixing the refactoring; this can be useful when using batchset command (described later).

Next you'll see the base prompt of a refactoring dialog that shows something like "Choose what to do". By entering the name of a refactoring option you can set its value. After setting each option you'll be returned back to the base prompt. Finally, you can ask rope to perform, preview or cancel the refactoring.

See keybinding section and try the refactorings yourself.

Finding Files

By using rope-find-file (C-x p f by default), you can search for files in your project. When you complete the minibuffer you'll see all files in the project; files are shown as their reversed paths. For instance projectroot/docs/todo.txt is shown like todo.txt<docs. This way you can find files faster in your project. rope-find-file-other-window (C-x p 4 f) opens the file in the other window. With prefix, these commands show python files only.


rope-code-assist command (M-/ by default) will let you select from a list of completions. If prefixed (C-u M-/), ropemacs inserts the common prefix, automatically. If a numeric argument is given, ropemacs will insert the common prefix for that many of the first proposals.

rope-lucky-assist command (M-?) does not ask anything; instead, it inserts the first proposal. By prefixing it, you can choose which proposal to insert. C-u 1 M-? uses the second propsal, for instance.


xxaa = None
xxab = None
xxba = None
xxbb = None


consider cursor is at ^ position. This table shows what happens when code-assist commands are used:

Key Inserts Minibuffer Completions
M-/   xxaa, xxab, xxba, xxbb
C-u M-/ x xxaa, xxab, xxba, xxbb
C-u 2 M-/ xa xxaa, xxab
M-? xaa  
C-u 1 M-/ xab  
C-u 3 M-/ xbb  

Finding Occurrences

The find occurrences command (C-c f by default) can be used to find the occurrences of a python name. If unsure option is yes, it will also show unsure occurrences; unsure occurrences are indicated with a ? mark in the end.

Dialog batchset Command

When you use ropemacs dialogs there is a command called batchset. It can set many options at the same time. After selecting this command from dialog base prompt, you are asked to enter a string.

batchset strings can set the value of configs in two ways. The single line form is like this:

name1 value1
name2 value2

That is the name of config is followed its value. For multi-line values you can use:



Each line of the definition should start with a space or a tab. Note that blank lines before the name of config definitions are ignored.

batchset command is useful when performing refactorings with long configs, like restructurings:

pattern ${pycore}.create_module(${project}.root, ${name})

goal generate.create_module(${project}, ${name})

 from rope.contrib import generate

 pycore: type=rope.base.pycore.PyCore
 project: type=rope.base.project.Project

This is a valid batchset string for restructurings. When using batchset, you usually want to skip initial questions. That can be done by prefixing refactorings.

Just for the sake of completeness, the reverse of the above restructuring can be:

pattern ${create_module}(${project}, ${name})

goal ${project}.pycore.create_module(${project}.root, ${name})

 create_module: name=rope.contrib.generate.create_module
 project: type=rope.base.project.Project

Enabling Autoimport

Ropemacs can propose and automatically import global names in other modules. But this feature is disabled by default. Before using it, you should add:

(setq ropemacs-enable-autoimport 't)

to your ~/.emacs file. After enabling, rope maintains a cache of global names for each project. It updates the cache only when modules are changed; if you want to cache all your modules at once, use rope-generate-autoimport-cache. It will cache all of the modules inside the project plus those whose names are listed in ropemacs-autoimport-modules list:

# add the name of modules you want to autoimport
(setq ropemacs-autoimport-modules '("os" "shutil"))

Now if you are in a buffer that contains:


and you execute ropemacs-auto-import you'll end up with:

from shutil import rmtree

Also rope-code-assist and rope-lucky-assist propose auto-imported names by using name : module style. Selecting them will import the module automatically.

Filtering Resources

Some refactorings, restructuring and find occurrences take an option called resources. This option can be used to limit the resources on which a refactoring should be applied.

It uses a simple format: each line starts with either '+' or '-'. Each '+' means include the file (or its children if it's a folder) that comes after it. '-' has the same meaning for exclusion. So using:


means include all python files inside rope and ropetest folders and their subfolder, but those that are in rope/contrib. Or:


means include all python files inside the project but and those under ropetest folder.


  • ropemacs-confirm-saving: If non-nil, you have to confirm saving all modified python files before refactorings; otherwise they are saved automatically. Defaults to t.
  • ropemacs-codeassist-maxfixes: The maximum number of syntax errors to fix for code assists. The default value is 1.
  • ropemacs-separate-doc-buffer: Should rope-show-doc use a separate buffer or the minibuffer. Defaults to t.
  • ropemacs-guess-project: If non-nil, ropemacs tries to guess and open the project that contains the file on which a rope command is performed when no project is already opened.
  • ropemacs-local-prefix: The prefix for ropemacs refactorings. Defaults to C-c r.
  • ropemacs-global-prefix: The prefix for ropemacs project commands Defaults to C-x p.
  • ropemacs-enable-shortcuts: Shows whether to bind ropemacs shortcuts keys. Defaults to t.
  • ropemacs-enable-autoimport: Shows whether to enable autoimport. Defaults to nil.
  • ropemacs-autoimport-modules: The name of modules whose global names should be cached. `rope-generate-autoimport-cache' reads this list and fills its cache.
  • ropemacs-autoimport-underlineds: If set, autoimport will cache names starting with underlines, too.


Uses almost the same keybinding as ropeide. Note that global commands have a C-x p prefix and local commands have a C-c r prefix. You can change that (see variables section).


Some commands are used very frequently; specially the commands in code-assist group. You can define your own shortcuts like this:

(define-key ropemacs-local-keymap "\C-cg" 'rope-goto-definition)

Ropemacs itself comes with a few shortcuts. These shortcuts will be used only when ropemacs-enable-shortcuts is non-nil.

Key Command
M-/ rope-code-assist
M-? rope-lucky-assist
C-c g rope-goto-definition
C-c d rope-show-doc
C-c f rope-find-occurrences


Send your bug reports, feature requests and patches to rope-dev (at)


This program is under the terms of GPL (GNU General Public License). Have a look at COPYING file for more information.