Vim grants plugin devs a Christmas wish, adds popup support

Vim Editor

Version 8.2 of popular text editor Vim is now available for download, fitting it with popup windows and text properties plugin developers might find interesting.

Popup support allows the displaying of text on top of other windows and works with filter callbacks for an added interactive touch. Through the latter, popup windows can not only be used for displaying additional information such as messages or code snippets, but also to implement lists of items users can choose from via keyboard or mouse. Position, size and highlighting can be adjusted to fit different purposes. 

The feature was added as a reaction to the feedback plugin developers gave Vim developer Bram Moolenaar at the annual user conference in 2018. In earlier versions, regular windows could be manipulated for popups, but the new logic makes them easier to use and allows for more efficient screen updates.

Another new detail is text properties. They can, for example, be used for text highlighting purposes where the pattern based approach doesn’t quite cut it. Meanwhile, devs can now work with heredoc-style assignments for easily assigning a list of lines to a variable for greater efficiency. An option to avoid quotes by using literal keys in dictionaries also helps in that regard.

Windows users will be happy to hear that ConPTY support was added for version 10 of Microsoft’s operating system and that the installers are now able to support translations as well as silent installs.

Apart from that, Vim now comes with a const command for declaring immutable variables, xdiff included for an improved diff view, and function chaining for method calls. A detailed list of changes can be found on the tool’s website.