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Helix Editor – 90% of Neovim With Kakoune

I’ve spend too many hours organising the current NeoVim options (since v0.5): tree-sitter, nvim-lsp, nvim-cmp.

Why?

NeoVim’s parser instrument tree-sitter gives a greater integration of language servers, syntax highlighting and auto-completion.



The Downside

Vim and NeoVim are nice.

Nonetheless, I put a whole lot of effort into customizing these editors to my liking, in order that I might comfortably use them for coding.

The truth is, my configuration has change into extra sophisticated over time.

Migrating my Vim configuration to reap the benefits of tree-sitter was an train in frustration.



Higher Than (Neo)Vim?

By probability I stumbled upon a evaluate of Rust text editors on lobste.rs.

The article favorably mentions Helix, a modal textual content editor impressed by Vim and Kakoune.

Different commentators additionally appeared taken with this new textual content editor.

I gave Helix a try to I’m pleasantly shocked.

Helix is a fully-fledged textual content editor that comes with fantastic capabilities out of the field.

For instance, you get a fuzzy file finder, language server integration, a vim-surround-like plugin and nice editor themes totally free.

Ultimately, Helix gives nearly every thing I would like from a terminal-based textual content editor with zero config.

After losing hours of my free time on tweaking NeoVim, Helix’s sane defaults and inbuilt options blew me out of the water.



Kakoune – Why!?

Helix has one benefit over Vim/NeoVim – a number of cursors. This options makes textual content modifying a smoother expertise.

A number of cursors come from Kakoune, a textual content editor I by no means heard of.

Vim’s core modifying mannequin revolves round verbs and (textual content) objects. For instance, to delete a phrase, you sort dw, like in a pure language like English.

Kakoune turns this mannequin on its head: in Kakoune, you all the time choose textual content objects first, then function on them with phrases.

Helix makes use of the identical mannequin as Kakoune.

The thought is that you just all the time begin by making a variety first (that approach it’s interactive and also you see that you just chosen the appropriate factor), you then function on it.

I’m undecided if I can forego my muscle reminiscence and retrain myself to make use of the “Kakoune” approach. For me, it feels extremely awkward.

I’m additionally lacking some instructions in regular mode.

For instance, I can simply transfer or copy traces to different places within the file without having to make a selection and without leaving normal mode.

It is a conflict with Kakoune’s/Helix’s philosophy.

What I’m lacking most is ci (for change inside).

I usually use this command to alter textual content in brackets (ci{), single quotes (ci') or different textual content objects.



Now What?

Helix is in lively growth.

Besides, the editor is already usable. As a result of it’s written in Rust, it’s quick and secure.

The maintainers plan a plugin system with WebAssembly, which might be an enormous milestone for the undertaking.

All in all, Helix appears to be like like a legitimate various to Vim/NeoVim when you like modal editors.

Right here is my full configuration file:

theme = "nord"

[editor.cursor-shape]
insert = "bar"
regular = "block"
choose = "underline"

[editor.statusline]
left = ["mode", "diagnostics"]
middle = ["file-name"]
proper = ["selections", "file-type", "file-encoding", "position-percentage", "position"]

[keys.normal]
g = { a = "code_action", o = "goto_last_accessed_file" }
"ret" = ["move_line_down", "goto_first_nonwhitespace"] # Maps the enter key to maneuver to start out of subsequent line
X = "extend_line_above"
D = "delete_char_backward"

[keys.insert]
C-space = "completion"
# Transfer cursor in insert mode
A-h = "move_char_left"
A-j = "move_line_down"
A-k = "move_line_up"
A-l = "move_char_right"
A-o = "open_below"
A-O = "open_above"

Enter fullscreen mode

Exit fullscreen mode

It provides a default theme, a number of comfort key mappings plus some customization across the status-line and the cursor.

Compared, right here is my code for the status-line in Vim/NeoVim alone – which is (roughly) a three-liner in Helix.



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