Skip to content
A barebones Vim plugin manger written in Rust
Rust Shell Vim script
Branch: master
Clone or download


A barebones plugin manager for Vim in Rust that takes advantage of Vim’s packages feature. Its (very ambitious) goal is to provide the fastest out-of-the-box fresh plugin installation of all Vim plugin managers.


There is no CD set up (yet), so to get strand you will have to clone and compile it yourself. This means you will need Rust installed on your system. If you don’t have it already I recommend using rustup. Once you have Rust installed, run the following command from inside your clone of this repo:

> RUSTFLAGS='--codegen target-cpu=native' cargo install --force --path .

This compiles strand with optimisations specific to your native CPU architecture, and then installs the generated binary to ~/.cargo/bin/strand for your personal use.

Now all that is left to do is to set up a configuration file – strand uses the YAML format. Put it in the location specified by strand --config-location. Here is an example:

plugin_dir: ~/.vim/pack/strand/start

  # GitHub repos are supported
  - GitHub:
      user: tpope
      repo: vim-surround

  - GitHub:
      user: neoclide
      repo: coc.nvim
      git_ref: release # Specify a branch name ...

  - GitHub:
      user: tpope
      repo: vim-unimpaired
      git_ref: v2.0    # ... a tag name ...

  - GitHub:
      user: romainl
      repo: vim-qf
      git_ref: 4a97465 # ... or a commit hash.

  # Or just plain tar.gz archive URLs
  - Archive:


To keep the plugin manager as simple as possible, it only provides one function: re-installing the entire plugin directory each time. This avoids the need for a clean command and an update command. For maximum speed, strand is written in Rust, using the wonderful async-std library for concurrent task support. Additionally, instead of cloning Git repositories by either shelling out to git or using a Git binding, strand essentially acts as a parallel tar.gz downloader, making use of GitHub’s automated compressed archive generation to avoid downloading extraneous Git info. (This can also be partially achieved with git clone --depth=1, but this AFAIK is not compressed like tar.gz is.)


Once I realised that I barely utilised the more advanced features of Vim plugin managers like vim-plug, I decided to start developing a small script to maintain my Vim plugin collection. Conveniently, Vim had just recently gotten support for Pathogen-like runtimepath management (:help packages), meaning that plugin managers now had only one job – downloading and updating plugins. So far the only plugin manager I’ve seen that takes advantage of packages is minpac. At one point that duct taped-together script from earlier would download plugins asynchronously using Bash’s job control (& and wait), leading to very fast install times. To keep things simple, the script just had a hard-coded list of plugins in an array that it would re-download fully each time, instead of keeping track of which plugins still needed to be installed or which plugins needed updating. I decided to rewrite the script in Rust to learn about its async IO capabilities and get better at the language.

You can’t perform that action at this time.