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I want to create a file with org-open-at-point from a template if that file does not exist. If it exists, I want to open it in an external app.

In org-mode, file-links are created by [[file:path-to-file.ext]]. Enter or C-c C-o opens that file. This behavior is defined by org-file-apps depending on the file extension. According to the docs, org-file-apps can take functions as argument:

Possible values for the command are:
 string        A command to be executed by a shell; %s will be replaced
               by the path to the file.
 function      A Lisp function, which will be called with two arguments:
               the file path and the original link string, without the
               "file:" prefix.

(add-to-list 'org-file-apps '("\\.svg\\'" . "inkscape %s")) opens that file in inkscape.

I wrote a function to create the file beforhand if it does not exist:

    (defun inkscape-open (path &optional link)
      "Open the path in inkscape. Copy template if path does not exist."
      (unless (file-exists-p path)
          (shell-command (format "cp /home/jolla/Dropbox/org/sketches/default.svg %s" path)))
      (shell-command (format "inkscape %s" path))
      )

and set it for svg-files:

 (add-to-list 'org-file-apps '("\\.svg\\'" . inkscape-open))

1.) This does not work: emacs tells me that the file does not exist. If it exists, emacs opens the file.

2.) I would like to modify my function so that it only creates the file if a specific directory (like Dropbox/org/sketches) is in path. What would I have to do?

3.) How can I switch focus to inkscape after org-open-at-point?


PS: if I create a new link-parameter like [[svg:path-to-file.ext]] like this:

(org-link-set-parameters
 "svg"
 :follow (lambda (path)
           (let ((actions '(("find-file" . find-file)
                            ("edit in inkscape" . inkscape-open))))
         (funcall (cdr (assoc (completing-read "Action: " actions) actions)) path))))

I can chose inkscape-open and the function works as expected. This is also described here. However, I don't want to create a new link type because this would prevent org-mode from showing inline images.

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OK, this appears to be quite complicated. I found two solutions, both of which require a good deal of lisp knowledge.

  1. org-open-at-point pipes the file link to org-open-file. This function checks if the file exists first, before handling org-file-apps. This behavior is hardcoded in org.el. So I would have to change the function to skip the file exists check.
  2. I could alternatively add svg-images to the images displayed in org-buffers. This behavior is also hardcoded in org.el in org-display-inline-images, I think this is the code I would need to change:
    (file-types-re
    (format "\\[\\[\\(?:file%s:\\|attachment:\\|[./~]\\)\\|\\]\\[\\(<?file:\\)"
            (if (not link-abbrevs) ""
              (concat "\\|" (regexp-opt link-abbrevs)))))

I am not literate enough in emacs-lisp to accomplish this.


As a workaround, I wrote a script for autokey, which espands on [ink and asks for a file-name, copies my template, inserts the link and opens inkscape. Here is the code:

import shutil

retCode, new_file = dialog.input_dialog(title='file name', message='Enter a file name') 
path = "/home/jolla/Dropbox/org/sketches/"

# copy template
shutil.copyfile(path + "default.svg",
                path + new_file + ".svg")

# write link
output = "[[{}{}.svg]]".format(path, new_file)
keyboard.send_keys(output)

# open inkscape
ret = system.exec_command('inkscape {}{}.svg &'.format(path, new_file), getOutput=False)
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