Vim Plugin Management

Anyone who as looked at my vim config knows I rely on quite a list of plugins. While vim has an excellent plugin system, it fails to have an excellent plugin management system. There are a few scripts out there that attempt to fill this void. I have not used them all, but these are the ones I’ve heard of:

Being the stubborn ass that I am, I refused to use these types of scripts for a long time. I had my own home-baked solution of putting every plugin in it’s own subfolder and manipulating the runtimepath to include these folders. This kept my vimdir rather clean and allowed me to do a few fancy things such as keeping git-hosted plugins as submodules of my dotfiles repo. Doing so allowed me to update all git plugins from their origin with one easy command.

As it turns out, this is essentially how pathogen works. An added bonus with pathogen is that it provides a few functions to generate helptags for all plugins that include a doc directory. This is something my manual method never did and was always a pain in the ass to do. As a result, I have now switched to pathogen, and I recommend anyone looking for a clean solution to vim plugins to do the same.

However, I have found a downside to pathogen for those of us stuck in the stone ages. In order to use it, you must be running vim7. This means that when running vim6 pathogen will fail, and any plugins you have that should be loaded for vim6 will not be loaded, unless you manually load them. This wasn’t a problem previously as I was already appending to rtp for every plugin and had version tests around each plugin’s settings. Below are a couple of snippets from my vimrc that show how I have configured pathogen and TagList to play well together in both vim6 and vim7.

Set up pathogen (update)

silent! call pathogen#runtime_append_all_bundles()
filetype off

Configure TagList

if v:version >= 600
    " Taglist
    if v:version < 700
        " Pathogen doesn't work with
        " vim 6 but Taglist does
        set rtp+=~/.vim/plugin-git/taglist

    " TagList options

If anyone knows of a cleaner way to deal with this sort of setup on both vim6 and vim7 I’d love to hear it. I personally find this two part solution atrocious.

blog comments powered by Disqus