I switched to NeoVim entirely; here is why

İlyas Akın
3 min readMar 13, 2023

Before I started using NeoVim, I was using both VSCode and IntelliJ. Yes, I used both of them at the same time. VSCode had some missing features that IntelliJ had, and, IntelliJ had some missing features that VSCode had. Obviously, I wasn’t happy.

I tried to use NeoVim before because of the surrounding hype. I can’t say I have felt the need of using it in contrast to now. Furthermore, I enjoyed customizing it to my needs at the time, but I eventually went back to VSCode and IntelliJ after several months of trying.

On top of these, several months ago, I noticed that I started to get easily distracted by my IDE. From flashing icons at the bottom of the IDE window to occasional 500ms-ish delay when typing. I tried several things, tried zen mode of VSCode and IntelliJ. I have increased the ram of the editor hoping it to fix half a second delay when I randomly typed, etc… Nothing worked. That’s when I knew I need to give NeoVim another shot.

In the process of switching to NeoVim, I went back to using VSCode and IntelliJ several times. But, when I found the perfect configuration for me, I knew that I should ditch the other editors for good and use NeoVim.

Here are some thoughts on why the NeoVim is perfect for me (maybe for you too!):

Speed!

There is nothing more distracting for me other than speed. My editor should respond to every key press almost instantly. Like I mentioned several times above, it shouldn’t lag when I press a key. It shouldn’t display those 2 words after I wrote them 1 second ago. It shouldn’t freeze when I switched to a different branch!

NeoVim is fast because it is simple. It doesn’t have fancy features you probably do not need, and, if you need fancy features, you can install them with plugins.

Vim Motions

Typing is bliss with NeoVim. The amount of speed that you can save by using vim motions are insane! Even when not using vim motions that can be considered intermediate, you can type really fast without ever touching your mouse. So, you can focus on what you’re typing only, therefore you can reduce distractions.

PS. You can use Vim Motions within almost any browser, but they are slow compared to native.

Truly lightweight!

I can open up 10+ instances of NeoVim instantly and none of them would lag. My laptop was transforming into a portable toast machine when I was opening 2–3 instances of VSCode or IntelliJ. This is especially noticeable if you are working on a relatively large codebase.

Definitely noticeable when working on the code base in the project I’m working at Kuika (Cool company, you should check us out!).

Customizability

With NeoVim, you can customize your entire experience. You didn’t like how a default vim motion behaves? Override it. Is the autocomplete plugin slow? Replace it with a faster one. You don’t use certain LSP or formatter anymore, disable it. You want your editor to start faster by 50ms? Lazy load plugins! Do you want to add a dashboard similar to VSCode? Go ahead!

Conclusion

NeoVim is not for everyone. Not everyone needs speed, to type really fast, or reduce the amount of editor consumes computer resources or high level of customization. They just need their editor to “just work” which I totally respect.

In my case, I needed my editor to be blazingly fast (aha!), non-distractive, and lightweight. And, the vim motions were the thing that I didn’t know that I needed it.

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