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foreplay.vim: Clojure REPL tease
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There's a REPL in fireplace, but you probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't told you. Such is the way with fireplace.vim. By the way, this plugin is for Clojure.

Fireplace.vim used to be called foreplay.vim, but it was renamed so Java developers wouldn't have to speak in hushed tones.


Fireplace.vim doesn't provide indenting or syntax highlighting, so you'll want a set of Clojure runtime files. You might also want classpath.vim to run code when no REPL is available.

If you don't have a preferred installation method, I recommend installing pathogen.vim, and then simply copy and paste:

cd ~/.vim/bundle
git clone git://
git clone git://
git clone git://

Once help tags have been generated, you can view the manual with :help fireplace.


This list isn't exhaustive; see the :help for details.

Transparent setup

Fireplace.vim talks to nREPL. With Leiningen, it connects automatically based on .nrepl-port, otherwise it's just a :Connect away. You can connect to multiple instances of nREPL for different projects, and it will use the right one automatically. ClojureScript support is just as seamless with Piggieback.

The only external dependency is that you have either a Vim with Python support compiled in, or python in your path.

Oh, and if you don't have an nREPL connection, installing classpath.vim lets it fall back to using java clojure.main for some of the basics, using a class path based on your Leiningen or Maven config. It's a bit slow, but a two-second delay is vastly preferable to being forced out of my flow for a single command, in my book.

Not quite a REPL

You know that one plugin that provides a REPL in a split window and works absolutely flawlessly, never breaking just because you did something innocuous like backspace through part of the prompt? No? Such a shame, you really would have liked it.

I've taken a different approach in fireplace.vim. cq (Think "Clojure Quasi-REPL") is the prefix for a set of commands that bring up a command-line window — the same thing you get when you hit q: — but set up for Clojure code.

cqq prepopulates the command-line window with the expression under the cursor. cqc gives you a blank line in insert mode.

Evaluating from the buffer

Standard stuff here. :Eval evaluates a range (:%Eval gets the whole file), :Require requires a namespace with :reload (:Require! does :reload-all), either the current buffer or a given argument. :RunTests kicks off (clojure.test/run-tests) and loads the results into the quickfix list.

There's a cp operator that evaluates a given motion (cpp for the outermost form under the cursor). cm and c1m are similar, but they only run clojure.walk/macroexpand-all and macroexpand-1 instead of evaluating the form entirely.

Any failed evaluation loads the stack trace into the location list, which can be easily accessed with :lopen.

Navigating and Comprehending

I was brand new to Clojure when I started this plugin, so stuff that helped me understand code was a top priority.

  • :Source, :Doc, :FindDoc, and :Apropos, which map to the underlying clojure.repl macro (with tab complete, of course).

  • K is mapped to look up the symbol under the cursor with doc.

  • [d is mapped to look up the symbol under the cursor with source.

  • [<C-D> jumps to the definition of a symbol (even if it's inside a jar file).

  • gf, everybody's favorite "go to file" command, works on namespaces.

Where possible, I favor enhancing built-ins over inventing a bunch of <Leader> maps.


Because why not? It works in the quasi-REPL too.


Why does it take so long for Vim to startup?

See the classpath.vim FAQ. You can uninstall classpath.vim if you only care about nREPL support.


Like fireplace.vim? Follow the repository on GitHub. And if you're feeling especially charitable, follow tpope on Twitter and GitHub.


Copyright © Tim Pope. Distributed under the same terms as Vim itself. See :help license.

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