danmc.net

A week with Neovim … Meh

I tried the switch to Neovim for a week and was underwhelmed by the differences between it and Vim 8.1, but I love what a little competition has done.

In the last post I compared Vim defaults to Neovim defaults and I decided to give Neovim a try. I used it for about a week and I really liked the out-of-the-box default settings. I also really liked the :terminal feature. I was not too enthusiastic about that feature at first as I normally either use a tiling window manager or tmux, but after trying :terminal I did find it ergonomic for running webpack --watch or similar. I especially like it on my windows machine because windows terminals are horrible.

I also liked the cursor changing depending on mode, but that is also doable in Vim. The best thing about Neovim is that it upped the bar for Vim. I've never followed the development of Vim very closely, but it seems Bram and crew have been busy matching Neovim feature for feature for the most part (:terminal, async job control, etc.). From a practical point of view, this means the main motivation for switching to Neovim are abstract (development process, philosophy, etc.). The sane default config of Neovim is nice, but its a one time investment to customize Vim so that is not a deciding factor for me.

On the development process/philosophy, I like some of the new features that the Neovim project have enabled (async job control and :terminal) but there is something to be said for a more conservative development process for something as fundamental as an editor. You don't necessarily want the ground moving beneath you every six months with your editor.

In the end, I'm sticking with Vim (for now) but Neovim has prompted me to upgrade to Vim 8.1 on all of my machines (I even compiled it from source on one machine, which was remarkably easy), so I am thankful for what the Neovim project has done and the subsequent work from the Vim development team. A little competition is a good thing. I'll keep an eye on how the two projects evolve. Maybe there's another feature around the corner that will be a must have.