Vim plugin feedback


My post earlier this month about vim-plug generated a few interesting comments and suggestions.

Ben Oliver (Atom feed) let me know of another useful vim-plug feature, especially if you’re like me and used to being able to lock packages in FreeBSD:

The coolest thing about vim-plug (ok perhaps not cool) is that you can create a lockfile of all your plugins in their current state. So you run the install like you did already. Then once you are happy everything is working:

:PlugSnapshot foo-bar.lock

Then if an update happens and something breaks, you can roll it back with (from CLI not vim):

vim -S foo-bar.lock

It’s also useful for deploying to multiple systems, instead of having different versions of plugins on different machines.

Another gentleman who asked to remain anonymous:

I’ve been using vim-plug for years now, but recently it came to my attention that starting from version 8 Vim (and Neovim) has it’s own barebones package managing system. As such, now Vim autoloads any plugins that you put in “~/.vim/pack//start/“ folder ("~/.local/share/nvim/site/pack//start/” for Neovim). To automate package installation using this built-in package manager, I’ve put the following at the top of my “vimrc”:

let s:packs = expand(has('nvim') ? '~/.local/share/nvim/site/pack' : '~/.vim/pack')
function! s:InstallPlugin(type, name, repository)
    let l:path = a:type . '/start/' . a:name
    if empty(glob(s:packs . '/' . l:path))
        silent execute '!cd ' . s:packs . ' && git submodule add ' . a:repository . ' ' . l:path
if empty(glob(s:packs))
    silent execute '!mkdir -p ' . s:packs . ' && cd ' . s:packs . ' && git init’

And now, to specify which plugins I want installed, I just call that “s:InstallPlugin” function later on in my “vimrc”:

call s:InstallPlugin('colors', 'noctu', '')
call s:InstallPlugin('syntax', 'erlang', '’)

As such, my Vim now automatically upon startup checks which plugins it has not yet installed, and installs them as git submodules in a “~/.vim/pack” git repo.

Just wanted to let you know that nowadays you can go a long way without using any external Vim package managers like vim-plug at all, Vim provides pretty much everything that is needed out of the box.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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