Some weeks ago I got a good hint from Axel Stefan Beckert, to try conkeror as an alternative for the Firefox browser.

Although I am not used to the emacs shortcuts, it is very good usable with the keyboard only.

In the last few days I have been missing one important feature, one of the most important features of a browser:

to be able to edit a textbox with an external editor

I often edit large wiki pages and rearange them, which is a pain without a real editor.

Conkeror supports external editing, but defaults to

  • or emacs

None of the is usable for me, because $VISUAL and $EDITOR are set to vim and vim requires a terminal.

After I was told on #conkeror to modify ~/.conkerorrc/init.js to include

editor_shell_command = "urxvt -e vim";

it worked like a charm (besides debugging it for some others days, until I found out that there was always one instance of conkeror running, so it never re-read the configuration file). I can now edit textboxes in conkeror with vim!

But then I noticed, that conkeror creates a temporary file below /tmp, which I do not like, because all my data should be put on my encrypted home directory, not on the unencrypted root partition.

So I started to search for a configuration variable in the configuration window, but did not find any hint.

As I am running conkeror from the git source, I began to dig through it and started in modules/external-editor.js, where I found the function open_with_external_editor():

76 function open_with_external_editor (lspec) {
77     keywords(arguments);
78     let [file, temp] = yield download_as_temporary(lspec);
79     yield open_file_with_external_editor(file, $line = arguments.$line, $temporary = temp);
80 }

Ok, what is download_as_temporary() doing? The file modules/save.js helped me:

228 function download_as_temporary (lspec) {
243     var file = get_temporary_file(suggest_file_name(lspec));

Well, well, so what's about the get_temporary_file() function? The file modules/utils.js contains it:

799 function get_temporary_file (name) {
800     if (name == null)
801         name = "temp.txt";
802     var file = file_locator.get("TmpD", Ci.nsIFile);
803     file.append(name);
804     // Create the file now to ensure that no exploits are possible
805     file.createUnique(Ci.nsIFile.NORMAL_FILE_TYPE, 0600);
806     return file;
807 }

Searching for Ci.nsIFile in conkerors source did not reveal many information, so I got back to my seoc (search engine of choice) and found some hints on the mozilla developer center about nsIFile and TmpD and a reference to the IRC channel #extdev.

After I described my problem in that IRC channel, Michael Kaply told me the answer to the question "What defines or where is the TmpD variable defined?":

The temporary directory is OS specific and in my case (unix) defined by the environment variables

  • $TMP
  • $TEMP (tried in that order)

After I set


and restarted conkeror, pressed C-i in a textbox, the file is eventually saved in the temporary directory .tmp in my home directory!