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Vlime is a Common Lisp dev environment for Vim (and Neovim), similar to SLIME for Emacs and SLIMV for Vim.

It provides REPL integration, as well as omni-completions, cross reference utilities, a nice inspector, debugger support, and many other great facilities to aid you in your glorious Common Lisp hacking quest.

To get your feet wet: Quickstart

Short demo:



  • There were barely no choice besides SLIMV.
  • SLIMV was written in Python on the Vim side, but I think a Lisp-and-Vimscript implementation would be awesome.
  • Vim 8 has these nice channel APIs, why not try them out?

How Does It Work?

Vlime consists of a server written in Common Lisp, and a client written in Vimscript.

The server is basically a wrapped Swank server. The extra wrapper code translates the messages from JSON to Swank commands, and vise versa.

The client handles user input, emits JSON messages, and communicates with the server via Vim channels, or Neovim Jobs.

Current State

Vlime is currently in beta state. Please beware of bugs, and file an issue if you find anything weird/unexpected (see the Contributing section below).



  • Vim 8.0.0312+ with +channel, or Neovim 0.2.2+
  • ASDF
  • Quicklisp
  • An Internet connection to install other dependencies from Quicklisp

Note that there was a bug in the channel implementation of Vim, which may cause large messages to be dropped incorrectly. This was fixed in 8.0.0312. Details.

Currently Vlime can only detect s-expressions inside parentheses. To make your life easier, use parinfer or paredit.

Supported CL Implementations

The CL implementations listed below are supported. If you tried out Vlime with an implementation not listed here, please let me know (see the Contributing section below for contact info).

Implementation  Version  Notes
ABCL            1.4.0    Supported by the vlime-patched backend
Allegro CL      10.0     Tested with the Express Edition
CLISP           2.49+    No multithreading support
ECL             16.1.3   No SLDB support
CCL             1.11     
SBCL            2.1.19   
LispWorks       6.1      Tested with the Personal Edition


Before proceeding with the instructions shown below, please make sure Quicklisp is properly installed.

Installing using Vundle:

  1. Add Plugin 'vlime/vlime', {'rtp': 'vim/'} to your vimrc, then run :PluginInstall in Vim.
  2. Run the server: sbcl --load <your bundle dir>/vlime/lisp/start-vlime.lisp

Installing using Vim-Plug

  1. Add Plug 'vlime/vlime', {'rtp': 'vim/'} to your vimrc, then run :PlugInstall in Vim.
  2. Run the server: sbcl --load <your bundle dir>/vlime/lisp/start-vlime.lisp

Installing using dein.vim:

  1. Add call dein#add('vlime/vlime', {'rtp': 'vim/'}) to your vimrc, then run :call dein#install(['vlime']) in Vim.
  2. Run the server: sbcl --load <your bundle dir>/repos/

Installing manually:

  1. Clone this repo.
  2. Make sure the <vlime repo>/vim/ directory is in your runtimepath (see :help rtp). You may use symlinks to point to this directory, but please don't move it from the Vlime source tree, or Vlime may not be able to automatically locate the server entry point.
  3. Run the server: sbcl --load <vlime repo>/lisp/start-vlime.lisp

If it's your first time running the server, Vlime will try to install it's dependencies via Quicklisp.

When the server is up and running, use Vim to start editing a CL source file, and type "\cc" (without the quote marks) in normal mode to connect to the server.

You can also let Vim start the server for you. See :help vlime-start-up.

See :help vlime-tutor for a tutorial on how to use the main features, and :help vlime for the full documentation.




The source repo for Vlime is hosted on GitHub:

Issues and pull requests are welcome. Please feel free to contact me at l04m33(at) if you have any suggestions for improving Vlime.

See :help vlime-tests for a how-to on setting up and running the tests for development.