Customizing Dotfiles for Vim
I've finally gotten around to learning Vim, and wouldn't you know -- it's not that bad once you get the hang of it. Right now I'm using Vim to write this post!
But what good would configuring Vim to suit your needs do if you couldn't save those configs and port them over to another machine?
Enter Zach Holman's dotfiles. A coworker of mine recommended forking Holman's dotfiles because they provide a solid foundation for extracting your dotfiles into subdirectories that make sense. They also include a script for symlinking your configs and downloading applications via Homebrew, so getting yourself set up on another machine is easy.
Wading your way through the repo and learning what everything does takes a decent amount of time, but once you make that investment, pretty much everything will be easier.
Now, I don't claim to be an expert on dotfiles, but I did set up my vim configs the way I want them, so that's what I'll focus this post on.
Holman's dotfiles come with a subdirectory for each topic area. The idea is
that anything that ends with an extension of
.symlink will get symlinked
$HOME directory when you run the install script with
For this specific example, I'll look at the Vim stuff. Holman's dotfiles
come with a subdirectory called
vim. Within that subdirectory is a file
vimrc.symlink. So with the fancy script Holman set up, that means that this
file will get symlinked to your home directory as
.vimrc. That's the place
to go to configure your vim editor.
What's a symlink, you ask? It's like a nickname or shortcut to file, or
almost like a redirect to the file. So I can go to
~/.vimrc, but I'm
actually accessing the file that's located in
The command to create a symlink, by the way, is this:
ln -s /path/to/file /path/to/symlink.
Some of the basic settings you'll want are as follows, which I've shamelessly stolen from my vim-using friends and coworkers:
syntax on filetype indent plugin on " Wrap gitcommit file types at the appropriate length syntax enable " syntax highlighting set number " line numbering set vb " flashes screen on errors set hlsearch " highlight search terms set incsearch set ignorecase " indentation set smartindent set autoindent " open lines at same indentation set expandtab " turn tabs into tabstop spaces set tabstop=4 " 1 tab = 4 spaces set shiftwidth=4 " shift 4 spaces set textwidth=76 set wildmenu set mouse=a " allow mouse set cursorline " highlights/underlines current line set ruler " shows cursor position set background=dark set t_Co=256
I've also been experimenting with a package manager called pathogen.vim, but that's probably a post for another day. Some git submodule work is involved with getting all the packages to sync across your machines. Just for my future reference, that guide is here.