I've been watching the neovim community for a while and what seems like a cambrian explosion of plugins emerging. A few weeks back I decided to spend most of a "day of learning" on investigating some of the plugins and technologies that I'd read about: Language Server Protocol, TreeSitter, neorg (a grandiose organiser plugin), etc.

It didn't go so well. I spent most of my time fighting version incompatibilities or tracing through scant documentation or code to figure out what plugin was incompatible with which other.

There's definitely a line where crossing it is spending too much time playing with your tools instead of creating. On the other hand, there's definitely value in honing your tools and learning about new technologies. Everyone's line is probably in a different place. I've come to the conclusion that I don't have the time or inclination (or both) to approach exploring the neovim universe in this way. There exist a number of plugin "distributions" (such as LunarVim): collections of pre- configured and integrated plugins that you can try to use out-of-the-box. Next time I think I'll pick one up and give that a try &emdash; independently from my existing configuration &emdash; and see which ideas from it I might like to adopt.

shared vimrcs

Some folks upload their vim or neovim configurations in their entirety for others to see. I noticed Jess Frazelle had published hers so I took a look. I suppose one could evaluate a bunch of plugins and configuration in isolation using a shared vimrc like this, in the same was as a distribution.


Amongst the plugins she uses was bufferline, a plugin to re-work neovim's tab bar to behave like tab bars from more conventional editors1. I don't make use of neovim's tabs at all2, so I would lose nothing having the (presently hidden) tab bar reworked, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I had to disable an existing plugin lightline, which I've had enabled for years but I wasn't sure I was getting much value from. Apparently it also messes with the tab bar! Disabling it, at least for now, at least means I'll find out if I miss it.

I am already using vim-buffergator as a means of seeing and managing open buffers: a hotkey opens a sidebar with a list of open buffers, to switch between or close. Bufferline gives me a more immediate, always-present view of open buffers, which is faintly useful: but not much. Perhaps I'd like it more if I was coming from an editor that had made it more of an expected feature. The two things I noticed about it that aren't especially useful for me: when browsing around vimwiki pages, I quickly open a lot of buffers. The horizontal line fills up very quickly. Even when I don't, I habitually have quite a lot of buffers open, and the horizontal line is quickly overwhelmed.

I have found myself closing open buffers with the mouse, which I didn't do before.


Since I have brought up a neovim UI feature (tabs) I thought I'd briefly mention my new favourite neovim built-in command: vert.

Quite a few plugins and commands open up a new window (e.g. git-fugitive, Man, etc.) and they typically do so in a horizontal split. I'm increasingly preferring vertical splits. Prefixing any3 such command with vert forces the split to be vertical instead.

  1. in this case the direct influence was apparently DOOM Emacs
  2. (neo)vim's notion of tabs is completely different to what you might expect from other UI models.
  3. at least, I haven't found one that doesn't work yet