GitHub - nim-lang/nim-mode: An emacs major mode for the Nim programming language

 4 years ago
source link: https://github.com/nim-lang/nim-mode
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nim-mode A major mode for editing Nim source code

This package provides (and requires Emacs 24.4 or higher version):

  • Syntax highlighting for *.nim, *.nims, *.nimble and nim.cfg files
  • nim-compile command (C-c C-c), with error matcher for the compile buffer
  • Nimsuggest (alpha):
    • on the fly linter using flycheck, or flymake (from Emacs 26)
    • auto-completion with company-mode ("C-M-i" for manual completion)
    • jump-to-definition (M-., and M-, keys)
    • find-references (M-? key)
    • eldoc or help on hover in term of LSP
  • Automatic indentation and line breaking (alpha)
  • Outline by procedures (hs-hide-all, hs-show-all etc.)


  • ensure packages from MELPA can be installed
  • Install nim-mode (e.g. M-x package-install RET nim-mode RET)

nimsuggest (alpha)

At the time of writing this it should be mentioned that both nimsuggest and nimsuggest-mode have problems that could cause emacs to be much less responsive, or even freeze. Apart from that is is non trivial to configure nimsuggest with the right parameters so that you also get correct results. So you have been warned.

Nimsuggest is the compilation server for Nim, it runs in its own process, pretty much independent of emacs. nimsuggest-mode is an emacs minor mode that comes with nim-mode. It is responsible to create the nimsuggest instance and connect emacs with it. nimsuggest-mode doesn't do anything visual in emacs yet. There are other minor modes such as flycheck,flymake (linting) and company (completion) that are responsible for editor integration.

  • flycheck and flymake are two alternative linting engines. Before emacs version 26.1 flymake was pretty much outdated and the recommended linting engine was the external flycheck. But from version 26.1 onward, flymake is a good linting engine that comes with emacs. But you should not use both at the same time.
  • flycheck-nimsuggest is a backend for flycheck. It builds the bridge to nimsuggest-mode so that flycheck can visualize the linting information that nimsuggest provides.
  • flycheck-nim is an alternative backend for flycheck that does not interact with nimsuggest at all. Instead it uses the nim check command and parses the output of that command.
  • flymake-nimsuggest is the backend for flymake to build the bridge to nimsuggest-mode. It comes with nim-mode, and it is activated automatically in nim files, when flymake-mode is on.
  • company-mode is a minor mode for auto completion (company - complete anything)
  • company-nimsuggest is the backend for company-mode that builds the bridge to nimsuggest-mode.
  • eldoc-mode is a minor mode for emacs that is responsible to show the documentation of emacs lisp symbols at point, hence the name. But eldoc-mode has been extended to work for other programming languages as well. nimsuggest-mode has integration for eldoc-mode so you can see documentation of nim symbols at point when nimsuggest-mode is active.

For nimsuggest-mode to work, emacs needs to be able to find the nimsuggest binary, when it is on the path, it should just work, if not you can customize nimsuggest-path. Since it is completely optional to use nimsuggest, you have to activate nimsuggest-mode manually.

Install nimsuggest

  1. Use stable version: See official download instruction at "Installation based on generated C code" section.

  2. Use latest version: This way may or may not work (depending on Nim or nimsuggest's state and we can't support all the way), so use above way if you prefer stable.

    #  assuming you already installed Nim
    cd /path/to/Nim_repository
    ./koch tools

Keyboard Shortcuts (with nimsuggest)

  1. Completion feature -- C-M-i and M-TAB keys and auto-complete feature if you install company-mode
  2. Jump to Definition -- M-. to find the definition for symbol at poisition and M-, to go back.
  3. Show Doc -- C-c C-d Show documentation of symbol at current position in the dedicated *nim-doc* buffer.
  4. Show Short Doc -- (automatically) Shows the short documentation of the symbol at point in the minibuffer

Grammar and Indentation

In nim-smie.el there are nim grammar rules for smie (Simple Minded Indentation Engine). These rules give emacs a basic understanding of the Nim grammar. They are used to calculate a "correct" indentation level for code, and to fill (distribute line endings at margin) comments, multiline strings and other parts of the code.

electric-indent-mode, a global minor mode that is turned on by default, uses the rules from nim-smie.el to automatically reindent the current line, before a new line is started on RET. The rules sometimes can really make the emacs behave sluggish up to freezing for several seconds. The problem is most noticeable when the grammar gets confused with incomplete statements or the grammar becomes very uncommon through the usage of untyped macros for embedded domain language. Just as an example writing patterns for the nim library ast-pattern-matching really confuses smie and you might have to manually fix a lot of indentation that electric-indent-mode breaks automatically.

My recommendation is to turn off electric indentation for Nim files. This can be done locally with (electric-indent-local-mode 0), or globally (not just Nim files) with (electric-indent-mode 0). Nim has semantic whitespace, therefore it might be better if the indentation is something that is inserted manually.

auto-fill-mode, a minor mode, uses the rules to break lines automatically. At the moment it is also not recommend to enable auto-fill-mode for Nim files. But using fill-paragraph (M-q) on comments does work reliably and it is very useful.

Example Configuration

You can copy and adjust the following configuration into your local init.el file.

;; The `nimsuggest-path' will be set to the value of
;; (executable-find "nimsuggest"), automatically.
(setq nimsuggest-path "path/to/nimsuggest")

(defun my--init-nim-mode ()
  "Local init function for `nim-mode'."

  ;; Just an example, by default these functions are
  ;; already mapped to "C-c <" and "C-c >".
  (local-set-key (kbd "M->") 'nim-indent-shift-right)
  (local-set-key (kbd "M-<") 'nim-indent-shift-left)

  ;; Make files in the nimble folder read only by default.
  ;; This can prevent to edit them by accident.
  (when (string-match "/\.nimble/" (or (buffer-file-name) "")) (read-only-mode 1))

  ;; If you want to experiment, you can enable the following modes by
  ;; uncommenting their line.
  ;; (nimsuggest-mode 1)
  ;; Remember: Only enable either `flycheck-mode' or `flymake-mode' at the same time.
  ;; (flycheck-mode 1)
  ;; (flymake-mode 1)

  ;; The following modes are disabled for Nim files just for the case
  ;; that they are enabled globally.
  ;; Anything that is based on smie can cause problems.
  (auto-fill-mode 0)
  (electric-indent-local-mode 0)

(add-hook 'nim-mode-hook 'my--init-nim-mode)

Other convenience packages for editing Nim source code

Those packages are convenience packages and can be installed same way as nim-mode (M-x list-packages ...)

  • indent-guide: show visible indent levels
  • quickrun: emacs port of vim's quickrun
  • company-mode: auto-complete feature
  • ob-nim: org-mode integration focused on Nim
  • wgrep: Writable grep buffer and apply the changes to files (maybe convenient for refactor stuff)
  • suggestion-box-el: show argument info on the cursor

Other editors/IDEs

You can also find other editor/IDE plugins for Nim language here

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