Configuring Vim for Node Js Development
Configuring Vim for Node Js Development

Configuring Vim for Node Js Development

Using Vim

If you have come across this article, I probably don't need to explain why you need to use Vim as your development IDE.
You're probably here because you want to use Vim, but not sure how to integrate it into your current workflow.

I was in the same position a few months ago.

The easiest way is to install a vim extension into your current IDE of choice, this will bring all of the features of vim into your current workflow.
After getting used to Vim, in something that you're familiar with. You'll probably want to jump-ship into full-blown Vim.

That's what this blog post is for.

The Primeagen

A lot of my configuration and interest in jumping over to Vim came from The Primeagen.
This guy is a machine with Vim.

He's currently a Netflix Engineer who only works in Vim for his day-to-day work. Regularly streaming over on Twitch and uploading on YouTube.

He has recently produced a series on Vim As Your Editor. I highly recommend that you go and watch it.


Vim is highly configurable with user-created plugins.
Here's a list that I recommend to use with Node.Js:

  • vim-fugitive
    • This integrates Git seemlessly into Vim
  • coc.nvim
    • This allows code completion and intellisense for Javascript in Vim
  • nerdcommenter
    • A simple plugin to comment out lines of code using Vim bindings
  • ale
    • A syntax highlighter for Vim
  • nerdtree
    • A file tree view for selecting files and navigating folder structure in your projects
  • lightline
    • A lightweight status bar to show progress in your buffer and other useful information
  • fzf
    • A file-finding plugin to quickly search your project and swtich buffers
  • gruvbox
    • The only theme you should be using. Heavily influenced by The Primeagen
  • vim-buftabline
    • Introduces 'tabs' into Vim for keeping track of your open buffers

Installing plugins is easy in Vim. I use a plugin manager called vim-plug.


Your plugin installation lives in a file called .vimrc.plug.

Here's a copy of my .vimrc.plug as an example

" .vimrc.plug

call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')
" Git
Plug 'tpope/vim-fugitive'

" Code completion
Plug 'neoclide/coc.nvim', {'branch': 'release'}

" Code commenter
Plug 'preservim/nerdcommenter'
" Syntax highlighting
Plug 'dense-analysis/ale'

" NERDTree
Plug 'preservim/nerdtree'
" Statusbar
Plug 'itchyny/lightline.vim'
" Finder
Plug 'junegunn/fzf', { 'do': { -> fzf#install() } }
Plug 'junegunn/fzf.vim'

" File finder
Plug 'vifm/vifm.vim'

" Theme
Plug 'morhetz/gruvbox'

" Tabs
Plug 'ap/vim-buftabline'

call plug#end()

set background=dark
colorscheme gruvbox

Just install those plugins using :PlugInstall


.vimrc is your main Vim config file. You probably know this already.

Here's mine:

syntax on

set guicursor=
set noshowmatch
set relativenumber
set nohlsearch
set hidden
set noerrorbells
set tabstop=4 softtabstop=4
set shiftwidth=4
set expandtab
set smartindent
set nu
set nowrap
set smartcase
set noswapfile
set nobackup
set undodir=~/.vim/undodir
set undofile
set incsearch
set termguicolors
set scrolloff=8
set modifiable

" Give more space for displaying messages.
set cmdheight=2

" Having longer updatetime (default is 4000 ms = 4 s) leads to noticeable
" delays and poor user experience.
set updatetime=50

" Don't pass messages to |ins-completion-menu|.
set shortmess+=c

set colorcolumn=100
highlight ColorColumn ctermbg=0 guibg=lightgrey

map <C-n> :NERDTreeToggle<CR>
map <C-p> :Files<CR>
map <C-f> :Rg<CR>
map <C-t> :e <cfile><cr>
map <S-Tab> :bn<CR>
map <F5> :setlocal spell! spelllang=en_gb<CR>

let loaded_matchparen = 1
let mapleader = " "

" CoC
" GoTo code navigation.
nmap <leader>gd <Plug>(coc-definition)
nmap <leader>gy <Plug>(coc-type-definition)
nmap <leader>gi <Plug>(coc-implementation)
nmap <leader>gr <Plug>(coc-references)
nmap <leader>rr <Plug>(coc-rename)
nmap <leader>g[ <Plug>(coc-diagnostic-prev)
nmap <leader>g] <Plug>(coc-diagnostic-next)
nmap <silent> <leader>gp <Plug>(coc-diagnostic-prev-error)
nmap <silent> <leader>gn <Plug>(coc-diagnostic-next-error)
nnoremap <leader>cr :CocRestart

" Sweet Sweet FuGITive
nmap <leader>gj :diffget //3<CR>
nmap <leader>gf :diffget //2<CR>
nmap <leader>gs :G<CR>

" Search and replace hotkey
nnoremap H :%s//gc<left><left><left>

" Move highlighted text up and down
vnoremap J :m '>+1<CR>gv=gv
vnoremap K :m '<-2<CR>gv=gv

" Import plugins
if filereadable(expand("~/.vimrc.plug"))
    source ~/.vimrc.plug

" Status bar config
set statusline+=%#warningmsg#

" Fix files automatically on save
let g:ale_fixers = {}
let g:ale_javascript_eslint_use_global = 1
let g:ale_linters = {
  \'javascript': ['eslint'],
  \'vue': ['eslint', 'stylelint', 'tsserver'],

let g:ale_fixers = {
  \'javascript': ['prettier', 'eslint'],
  \'vue': ['eslint', 'stylelint'],

let g:ale_linters_explicit = 1
let g:ale_sign_column_always = 1
let g:ale_sign_error = '>>'
let g:ale_sign_warning = '--'
let g:ale_fix_on_save = 1

" Close NERDTree when closing the last buffer
autocmd bufenter * if (winnr("$") == 1 && exists("b:NERDTree") && b:NERDTree.isTabTree()) | q | endif

fun! TrimWhitespace()
    let l:save = winsaveview()
    keeppatterns %s/\s\+$//e
    call winrestview(l:save)

autocmd BufWritePre * :call TrimWhitespace()

command! -bang -nargs=* Rg
  \ call fzf#vim#grep(
  \   'rg --column --line-number --no-heading --color=always --smart-case -- '.shellescape(<q-args>), 1,
  \   fzf#vim#with_preview(), <bang>0)

There is some initial setup prior to using this configuration. Such as:

  • Running :CocInstall coc-tsserver
  • Installing fzf sudo apt-get install fzf
  • Installing Rg sudo apt-get install ripgrep

Final points

Vim is a steep learning curve. Get used to Vim by using a plugin in your existing IDE, once comfortable, switch to Vim.

Let me know if this post has helped you in the comments below, I'd appreciate your feedback.

Enjoying the post?

Subscribe to our free Weekly Newsletter, featuring our latest posts. Straight to your inbox. No spam ever (we hate it as much as you do).