Vim is a highly configurable, powerful, console-based, open source text editor. It’s efficient, letting users edit files with a minimum of keystrokes. Vim offers word completion, undo, shortcuts, abbreviations, keyboard customization, macros, and scripts. You can turn this into your editor for your environment.
There are projects that seek to move Vim in a different direction. One of these projects is Neovim. Its aim is to refactor Vim source code to:
- Simplify maintenance to improve the speed that bug fixes and features get merged.
- Split the work among multiple developers.
- Enable the implementation of new/modern user interfaces without any modifications to the core source.
- Improve the extensibility power with a new plugin architecture based on coprocesses. Plugins will be written in any programming language without any explicit support from the editor.
Neovim offers a lot of advantages such as its RPC based plugin system. These are coprocesses that have a direct communication channel (via |RPC|) with the Nvim process.
To use Neovim, you can use the program in a terminal emulator. Alternatively, there’s the option of using a third party GUI designed for Neovim. Neither Vim nor Neovim were built for beauty. However, many users prefer a graphical interface combined with the power of Neo(vim). One interesting aspect of Neovim’s RPC support is that developers can create new front-ends for Neovim that are outside of the terminal.
This article seems to highlight the best free and open source front-ends for Neovim. Here’s our recommendations. The vast majority of the software featured in this article is cross-platform.
Bear in mind that development of Veonim has been mothballed.
We haven’t forgotten about the Oni editor, a hugely popular open source editor powered by Neovim, but that’s been discontinued. Its successor is Onivim 2, but that’s moved away from an open source license.
Let’s explore the 10 Neovim GUIs in more detail. For each program we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.
|Veonim||Simple modal IDE built on Neovim and VSCode extensions||TypeScript|
|Neovim-qt||Neovim client library and GUI using Qt5||C++|
|Neovide||No nonsense client||Rust|
|FVim||Uses the Avalonia XAML-based UI framework||F#|
|Gonvim||Uses a Golang Qt backend||Go|
|NyaoVim||Web-enhanced extensible Neovim frontend||TypeScript|
|GNvim||Rich GUI without any web bloat||Rust|
|GoNeovim||Forked from Gonvim. Uses Qt binding||Go|
|neovim-gtk||Uses gtk-rs bindings||Rust|
|glrnvim||GPU-accelerated Neovim GUI||Rust|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.