Neovim vs Sublime Text

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Neovim vs Sublime Text: What are the differences?

Developers describe Neovim as "Vim's rebirth for the 21st century". Neovim is a project that seeks to aggressively refactor Vim in order to: simplify maintenance and encourage contributions, split the work between multiple developers, enable the implementation of new/modern user interfaces without any modifications to the core source, and improve extensibility with a new plugin architecture. On the other hand, Sublime Text is detailed as "A sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose". Sublime Text is available for OS X, Windows and Linux. One license is all you need to use Sublime Text on every computer you own, no matter what operating system it uses Sublime Text uses a custom UI toolkit, optimized for speed and beauty, while taking advantage of native functionality on each platform..

Neovim and Sublime Text can be categorized as "Text Editor" tools.

Some of the features offered by Neovim are:

  • More powerful plugins
  • Better GUI architecture
  • First-class support for embedding

On the other hand, Sublime Text provides the following key features:

  • Goto Anything
  • Multiple Selections
  • Command Palette

"Modern and more powerful Vim" is the primary reason why developers consider Neovim over the competitors, whereas "Lightweight" was stated as the key factor in picking Sublime Text.

Neovim is an open source tool with 32K GitHub stars and 2.33K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Neovim's open source repository on GitHub.

Lyft, Typeform, and Starbucks are some of the popular companies that use Sublime Text, whereas Neovim is used by MAK IT, Finciero, and Focus21 Inc.. Sublime Text has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1406 company stacks & 1333 developers stacks; compared to Neovim, which is listed in 11 company stacks and 14 developer stacks.

Advice on Neovim and Sublime Text
Rogério R. Alcântara
Needs advice

For a Visual Studio Code/Atom developer that works mostly with Node.js/TypeScript/Ruby/Go and wants to get rid of graphic-text-editors-IDE-like at once, which one is worthy of investing time to pick up?

I'm a total n00b on the subject, but I've read good things about Neovim's Lua support, and I wonder what would be the VIM response/approach for it?

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Replies (6)

Neovim can basically do everything Vim can with one major advantage - the number of contributors to the code base is just so much wider (Vim is ~100% maintained only by B. Mooleanaar). Whatever you learn for Neovim you can also apply to Vim and vice versa. And of course there is the never ending Vim vs Emacs controversy - but better not get into that war.

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Jeffrey Johnson

Actually, the biggest advantage with Neovim (as a VS user) is that you can embed REAL Neovim as the editor UI, rather than using a "Vim emulation", you're using actual NVIM, embedded in VS!

"asvetliakov.vscode-neovim" is the extension you are looking for:

  1. Install the 'vscode-neovim; extension (
  2. Install Neovim version 0.5+ nightly
  3. Start winning.

(You can install neovim-nightly separately for just vscode, I usually build and install it to /opt/nvim - it's enough enough to do - let me know if you need help).

Works wonderfully. It might not work out of the box if you have some 100K epic nvim initialization file, but the plugin documents a workaround for having an embedding/VS specific configuration.

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Kudos Beluga

I don't actually notice much of a difference between the two, as the end result looks identical. If you use Vim and are switch to Neovim it's an extremely easy 1-minute process. I switched from Vim to Neovim. I can't say I found much of a difference, but the key points where Neovim could be better than just vim is that first, there are much more people maintaining Neovim compared to vim, which means fewer bugs and a modern code base. It also has a smaller code base which might result in a small speed improvement. Another thing is that it's basically just a fork of vim, so what harm can it do? ;)

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Tarcísio Gruppi

I recommend using vim 8+ it has native plugin support if you need language supports you can install the package vim-nox which will come with support for python, lua, ruby, etc

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Rogério R. Alcântara

The hints on the codebase's contributors and the VSCode integration helped me make up my mind.

I really appreciate all comments, though.

Thanks a bunch!

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Albert Kim

It truly depends on whether you want to completely avoid GUI and stick to TUI and command lines. If you want to edit all of your codes within a terminal, then Vim or neovim would be the choice. Emacs can be run in a terminal, but the functionality is limited. Most people use Emacs using GUI and emacs-client not to use too much memory.

My general preference is to use an independent text editor, which is better if it is highly customizable and programmable. So, I have used Emacs for several years. For beginners, I guess Emacs requires significant time to learn to fully enjoy its wonderful functionalities. In that sense, using atom would be a recommendable option.

Regardless of all the situations, learning basic vim in the terminal will help you in any case. In summary, I recommend 1. vim as a default editor in the terminal 2. atom if you are a beginner, or 3. Emacs if you have a long-term plan to master a programmable editor

Other editors like sublime text, VS code, and so forth are also worth learning and using. But, no matter which editor you choose, stick to one or two until you become an advanced user. Being able to use most text editors at an intermediate level is waste of time.

I hope it helps.

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Decisions about Neovim and Sublime Text
Kamaleshwar BN
Head of Engineering at Dibiz Pte. Ltd. · | 12 upvotes · 778.3K views

Visual Studio Code became famous over the past 3+ years I believe. The clean UI, easy to use UX and the plethora of integrations made it a very easy decision for us. Our gripe with Sublime was probably only the UX side. VSCode has not failed us till now, and still is able to support our development env without any significant effort.

Goland being paid, as well as built only for Go seemed like a significant limitation to not consider it.

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Andrey Ginger
Managing Partner at WhiteLabelDevelopers · | 3 upvotes · 320.7K views

Since communication with Github is not necessary, the Atom is less convenient in working with text and code. Sublim's support and understanding of projects is best for us. Notepad for us is a completely outdated solution with an unacceptable interface. We use a good theme for Sublim ayu-dark

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Simon Ibssa
Student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo · | 2 upvotes · 707.1K views

I decided to choose VSCode over Sublime text for my Systems Programming class in C. What I love about VSCode is its awesome ability to add extensions. Intellisense is a beautiful debugger, and Remote SSH allows me to login and make real-time changes in VSCode to files on my university server. This is an awesome alternative to going back and forth on pushing/pulling code and logging into servers in the terminal. Great choice for anyone interested in C programming!

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