Published: September 10, 2017
by Tobias Pleyer
Tags: vim, spf13

How I currently use Vim

Plain vanilla Vim

I try to use Vim as much as possible. Sometimes I’m catching myself to just wish for a simple editor like gedit, but then I quickly start to miss the killer features of Vim. Using Vim can be tiring, just because it is so much than your average editor, but don’t give up - it pays off!

But using Vim out of the box is one thing, using it with plugins and a really nice configuration file is a whole different story!

How I have configured my Vim

Configuring Vim can be challenging for many reasons:

  • You have to know a lot of plugins
  • You have find a way to arrange/define your shortcuts with the least amount of overlaps
  • You have to learn the syntax

All of this is manageable, but why not benefit from the work of others on the internet? On one of my occasional roamings through the web I found spf13. Spf13 was created by Steve Francia and offers a really thorough collection of plugins, accompanied by a well thought through configuration file. In addition a simple overwrite and precendence mechanism allows for further customization.

I use spf13 almost unchanged, the only thing I did is install two more plugins and use a handful more configuration items. Additional configuration is made possible by the spf13 distribution via local files, these are files with .local appended to the name of the orignal file names. Anything written in there overwrites the default configuration delivered with spf13. Here are my vimrc.bundles.local file and my vimrc.local file.


Bundle 'jlanzarotta/bufexplorer'
Bundle 'vim-scripts/a.vim'
Bundle 'l04m33/vlime', {'rtp': 'vim/'}
Bundle 'bhurlow/vim-parinfer'
Bundle 'kovisoft/paredit'
Bundle 'tpope/vim-fireplace'


nnoremap <silent> <S-F11> :bp<CR>   "next buffer
nnoremap <silent> <S-F12> :bn<CR>   "previous buffer
nnoremap <silent> <C-F11> :tabp<CR> "next tab
nnoremap <silent> <C-F12> :tabn<CR> "previous tab

"Highlights the column at 80 chars deep
set colorcolumn=80


If you want to use the full power of Vim but don’t have the energy or devotion to write a comprehensive configuration yourself, then spf13 is definitely worth checking out. I takes time to get used to this massive amount of shortcuts and plugins, but it’s worth it.