A minimalist .vimrc file is a configuration file for the Vim text editor that contains only essential settings and customizations. The goal of a minimalist .vimrc file is to keep Vim simple and fast while still providing a personalized and efficient editing environment. Here are some reasons why someone might choose to have a minimalist .vimrc file:

  1. Performance: Vim is known for its speed and efficiency. By keeping your .vimrc file minimal, you ensure that Vim loads quickly and doesn’t consume unnecessary resources. This is especially important for users who work on remote servers or older computers.
  2. Simplicity: Vim’s default settings are quite powerful, and many users find that they don’t need to add a lot of customizations to be productive. A minimalist .vimrc file promotes simplicity and avoids clutter.
  3. Portability: If you frequently switch between different machines or accounts, having a minimalist .vimrc file makes it easier to maintain consistency in your Vim setup. You can quickly copy your minimal configuration to new environments without worrying about conflicts or dependencies.
  4. Focus on Essentials: By only including essential settings and key mappings in your .vimrc, you can focus on the features and customizations that truly improve your workflow. This can make you a more efficient and proficient Vim user.
  5. Learn Vim’s Default Behavior: Vim has a steep learning curve, and some users prefer to start with the default settings to fully understand Vim’s built-in features before adding customizations. A minimalist .vimrc file encourages this approach.
  6. Avoiding Bloat: Adding too many plugins and customizations can lead to a bloated .vimrc file and a more complex editing environment. Some users prefer to avoid this complexity and rely on Vim’s core functionality.
  7. Flexibility: A minimalist .vimrc file is a great starting point. Users can gradually add additional settings and plugins as they discover specific needs, ensuring that their Vim setup remains tailored to their workflow.

Here’s an example of what a minimalist .vimrc file might look like:

set autoindent             
set expandtab              
set softtabstop=2         
set shiftwidth=4         
set shiftround             
set backspace=indent,eol,start  
set hidden                 
set laststatus=2         
set display=lastline  
set showmode               
set showcmd                
set incsearch              
set hlsearch               
set ttyfast                
set lazyredraw             
set splitbelow             
set splitright             
set cursorline             
set wrapscan               
set report=0         
set synmaxcol=200       
set list 
set number    

This minimal configuration includes some fundamental settings for line numbering, syntax highlighting, indentation preferences, and line wrapping while avoiding more advanced customizations or plugin integrations. Users can then build upon this foundation as needed.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to have a minimalist .vimrc file or a more extensive one depends on your personal preferences, workflow, and the specific tasks you perform with Vim.