Beginners should use a preconfigured Neovim distribution

Aug 23, 2023 3 min

I believe that beginners to Neovim should use a preconfigured distribution. I’m talking about distributions such as LunarVim, NvChad, AstroVim, or LazyVim, among others.

I’ve used everything from my own minimal configurations to huge, sometimes bloated, distributions like LunarVim. From my experience, I still believe that those starting out should look toward using a preconfigured distribution and at a later time tailor their own.

A Whole New World

Coming from a “managed” editor, newcomers may get overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices that come with Neovim. Unless you use Arch (btw), then you’re used to it. A preconfigured Neovim setup lightens the configuration load. My main complaint about the ecosystem is that it’s too vast; the countless plugins, unlimited configurations, and the knowledge needed to get started is bewildering. That’s where a preconfigured distribution comes into play.

These configurations act as curated showcases, offering a glimpse of what plugins and configuration types are available. By trying different distributions, you figure out which plugins and settings resonate with your unique coding style and requirements. It’s like finding the right pair of shoes in an infinite store; each fits and feels differently, and you’ll never truly know what’s comfortable until you’ve tried several.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The exposure to different types of configurations helps guide newbies on different ways to write their own. I know that after looking at several different formats I found what stuck to me. Yes I am referring to using other’s configurations as a reference too. Try them out first, then delve in deep and see how it was done.

By exploring different Neovim configurations, you get inspiration from the tried-and-tested configurations. After some time, it is easy to modify the configurations a little more to your liking.

Don’t Stop There

I still believe that after trying out multiple Neovim distributions, is to write your own. At this point, you know what exists, and what you like. You’ve seen examples of how everything is glued together. And you’ve graduated from Beginner Academy. A super easy way to start would be to use Kickstart.nvim. This configuration is very minimal and all contained within one file, meant for a launchpad for your own configuration.