Neovim and the Power of Play

Tom Deneire
7 min readNov 8, 2023
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Why Neovim?

If you use Neovim, like I do, it is not uncommon to have to explain yourself. After all, it is not a very popular choice, as you can see from the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey:

Integrated development environment (source: Stack Overflow)

Mind you, Neovim’s on the rise with 11.88% of the market share in 2023, which is almost double compared to the year before (6.75%), but you’re still bound to be the exception when you whip out the old nvim … To be completely honest, I’ve never even met another Neovim user in real life. Although, now that I think of it: I apparently live super close to plugin wizard Folke, so I guess I should keep my eyes peeled on the train! 😉

At work, our “official” editor is VSCode, and we’ve even developed a number of custom plugins for syntax highlighting our bespoke file formats and for using our internal deployment system. So when I wanted to switch to Neovim, about a year and half ago, I had to rewrite all of this myself.

So why would you go through so much trouble?

Neovim’s learning curve

It’s true that Neovim has a steep learning curve. First, you have to master Vim motions to effectively write code without using the mouse. And secondly, configuring the editor is not at all straightforward, especially the more advanced aspects like LSP integration, auto-formatting and auto-completion. Recently, for instance, ThePrimeagen published a video on YouTube where he reacts to the blog post “Neovim is driving me crazy but I can’t stop” (https://mataroa.blog/):

The blog ends like this:

I’m unsure if this falls under stupidity or insanity. My goal right now is to get a working config that I’m satisfied with during this weekend and if I get some real coding done as well then that is a big plus. Right now i regret I did not stay in VS Code, but I have spent too many hours…

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