Yeah, I did it again, but for a good reason.

I have been using VSCode for while, which is great with plugins like GitLens and Docker. Besides, it’s really handy to debug code, view all kinds of files and draw various diagrams such as UML. I thought I’d wave my hands to Neovim, however, I found I still need it, a lot.

Not trying to nitpick, but I have to switch between keyboard and mouse from time to time with VSCode, which sometimes can really interrupt my train of thoughts. In addition, it doesn’t feel effortless to use terminal as when I’m in a Tmux session.

For whatever it’s worth, I spent some hours on picking Neovim back and upgrading everything. Now it feels unprecedentedly smooth and efficient, and I’d like to share how I revamped my configs.

Try it out

First and most important of all, a showcase:

Of course, you will need Neovim + Git + Lua installed. It’s better to have black + isort + ruff executables since I use them for Python linting and formatting.

Then replace your ~/.config/nvim with my folder and open with nvim to see how everything goes.

If it works as expected, lazy.nvim is going to take over and install everything shortly, then you’re all set.

In case things go south, please leave a comment and let me know. Now if you’re still interested, read along and I’ll explain as much I can.

Why Neovim

So I ask myself, why don’t I just use Vim? Let’s see how Neovim states for itself:

I notice documented API&compatible with Vim, and I’m interested in that builtin terminal emulator, but what really got me is the Lua support for config and plugins. To me, it feels lighter and simpler to use and learn, after all, it’s a real programming language. From the Lua guide it provides, we can easily pick up:

  • Neovim supports a init.lua config file with which you can replace init.vim.
  • Lua uses require() to load other modules, so you can do require(
  • or foo/bar means a sub-module bar under module foo.

My configs

Here is my structure of my config files:

To simply put it, the init.lua loads lazy.lua, which utilizes lazy.nvim, a plugin manager to install and setup every other plugin inside plugins. Besides, it will also import from config to configure Vim options and keymaps.

My plugins

It takes a proper combination of plugins to have excellent experiences with Neovim, which is also the best part to enjoy while setting up.

Plugin manager

I’ve used vim-plug for a very long time while now the popular one is lazy.nvim. So I jumped right into it.

It provides a nice UI where you can manage all the packages, and I like how everything gets explained thoroughly in its documents, which is very friendly for starters, even those who are not.

In fact there’s even a full-fledged setup repo based on this plugin manager, called LazyVim , so that you can build your own on top of it.

Fuzzy finder

Besides coding, we’re always searching stuff, therefore a powerful fuzzy finder is vital. There were ctrlp and fzf, and now it is telescope.

It has pickers, sorters and previewers. So you can find files, do live grep, and search through nearly everything such as help documents, git commits and command history. Just imagine away.

BTW, this could become a test for your keymapping design skill. I tried my best to figure out proper leader key combinations.

LSP support

This ought to be the most complex part, so I’ll try to make the best sense of it and explain logically.

First thing to know is LSP requires both client and server, in order to provide code functions like auto-completion. Neovim already has builtin LSP client so we just need to install servers(for our languages) and configure properly.

Therefore we introduce mason, which plays a role of language server installer. Just type :Mason and install accordingly. This is convenient since we no longer have to prepare executables ourselves, e.g. pip install --user black. Pure installation won’t suffice, sometimes we need a bit more integration.

For LSP configuration, mason-lspconfig allows us to work easier with nvim-lspconfig. Let’s look at some setup code:


local servers = {
    pyright = {},
    lua_ls = {},

local capabilities = vim.lsp.protocol.make_client_capabilities()
capabilities = require("cmp_nvim_lsp").default_capabilities(capabilities)


local mason_lspconfig = require("mason-lspconfig")

    ensure_installed = vim.tbl_keys(servers),

            capabilities = capabilities,
            on_attach = on_attach,
            settings = servers[server_name],

Basically there’re two things. One is keep servers installed by ensure_installed, the other is setup handlers for them. I only add a default handler yet dedicated ones can be set for certain languages. Moreover, on_attach is usually for keymapping and capabilities comes in handy for broadcasting to server with additional functionality such as snippets, you can check from lspconfig document.

For linters and formatters, null-ls is a plugin which makes it every easy to setup these utilities. I setup classic black, isort as well as the new hot ruff, and for Lua I picked stylua, which seems just as opinionated as black.

Now we have linting and formatting, and we can go to definition etc. There’s only one missing piece left called completion. To achieve that we just need nvim-cmp along with some helpers. I chose LuaSnip with friendly-snippets as its source, and nvim-path for file path completion.

So far we’ve got everything covered for code functions, in which each part can be further extended to support more languages and richer functionalities.


There’s no reason to stop here, because so many more await. I’ll list some of them here:

  • nvim-tree: file explorer.
  • vim-fugitive: git helper.
  • nvim-autopairs: simple yet necessary.
  • trouble: manage diagnostics in a better way.
  • lightspeed: my favorite for faster movements.
  • vim-airline + tmuxline: decorate status lines for both Neovim and Tmux.

Last but not least, you deserve nice color schemes, here’s my recommendation:

  • tokyonight: good and dark.
  • catppuccin: pretty and elegant.
  • neosolarized: classic forever.
  • space-vim-dark: I used it all the time.
  • rose-pine: Heard they’re for minimalist.

At last

In my mind, using Neovim is all about fast(well, maybe not themes), and once you make it your own, no one can ever steal that from you. I feel so safe with it.