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VimClojure - Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

This is a sample configuration for VimClojure to hopefully make the process of getting and using VimClojure more straightforward. It is basically a complete vim configuration with VimClojure and nothing else installed. It should be a good sanity check for setting everything up.


If you have an existing vim configuration, first move it out of the way. You can bring it back in after you feel like VimClojure's working for you.

$ cd
$ mv .vim .vim.bak
$ mv .vimrc .vimrc.bak
$ mv .gvimrc .gvimrc.bak

Now clone this repo into ~/.vim and set it up:

$ cd
$ git clone .vim
$ ln -s .vim/vimrc.vim .vimrc
$ make -C .vim/lib/vimclojure-nailgun-client
Building ng client.  To build a Windows binary, type 'make ng.exe'
gcc -Wall -pedantic -s -O3  -o ng ngclient/ng.c
ld: warning: option -s is obsolete and being ignored

Windows users see Windows Notes section below

First Test - Syntax Highlight and Stuff

Now open a Clojure file just to see if the plugin's basically working. Conveniently, there's one in this repo:

$ cd
$ vim .vim/piglatin.clj

You should see the syntax highlighted source code as well as an error window telling you that VimClojure couldn't find the nailgun server. That's our next step.

If syntax highlighting doesn't work, make sure .vim is in your home directory and ~/.vimrc is a symlink to ~/.vim/vimrc.vim.

Starting the Nailgun Server

Now we want to get to the serious stuff. We'll need to start a nailgun server to get the most use out of VimClojure. There are (at least) two options.

The best option is Daniel Solano Gómez's [lein-tarsier plugin] ( First you'll need to install the plugin:

For Leiningen 1.x:

$ lein plugin install lein-tarsier 0.9.1

For Leiningen 2.x add this to the plugins vector of your :user profile located in ~/.lein/profiles.clj:

{:user {:plugins [[lein-tarsier "0.9.1"]]}}

Now you can create a new project and run the plugin:

$ lein new nailgun-test
$ cd nailgun-test
$ lein vimclojure
Copying 2 files to /Users/dave/Documents/tmp/nailgun-test/lib
Starting VimClojure server on, port 2113
Happy hacking!

Alternatively, if you hate yourself, run the server manually with the jar in this install:

$ cd .vim/lib
$ java -cp server-2.3.0.jar:/path/to/clojure-x.y.z.jar vimclojure.nailgun.NGServer
NGServer started on all interfaces, port 2113.

Note that in this case you have to provide the absolute path to a Clojure jar.

Second Test - The REPL

Now that our nailgun server is running, start up vim again and run the :ClojureRepl command. The vim screen will split and you'll see a new Clojure REPL. Try it out. Tricks worth knowing:

  • ,close to exit, or just <esc>:q
  • If you're cursor's in the middle of a command, hit ctrl-enter to execute the command without having to jump to the end of the line first
  • ,st gives the last stack trace

See vimclojure.txt for more info.

Third Test - Code

Now try editing a file with the nailgun server running:

$ cd
$ vim .vim/piglatin.clj

Hit \ef to evaluate the file. VimClojure will open a split window to show the result:

; Use \p to close this buffer!

Put your cursor on the (set on line 2 and hit \lw. VimClojure with show the docs for set.

What's Next?

  • Go read the vimclojure documentation! (You may find it here: bundle/vimclojure-x.x.x/doc/clojure.txt).
  • If you've already got vim configuration, you should be able to basically copy this directory structure over yours. Then move the Pathogen and VimClojure settings from vimrc.vim to your vimrc file.
  • A more elaborate setup is described here
  • Enable paredit.


Paredit performs structured editing of Clojure S-expressions. To enable, edit vimrc.vim and set the following:

let g:paredit_mode = 1

The paredit documentation is here: bundle/paredit-x.x.x/doc/paredit.txt.


VimClojure doesn't have any particular support for ClojureScript, but you can at least enable syntax highlighting and stuff in .cljs files by adding this to your vimrc file:

autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.cljs setlocal filetype=clojure


Windows Notes

Note if you're on Windows users:

  • Replace .vim with vimfiles. The location of "HOME" may vary for you.
  • Replace symlink .vimrc with _vimrc with contents runtime vimrc.vim. Or just move vimrc.vim to _vimrc.
  • You might need to adjust the NailgunClient setting in vimrc.vim