github github
stars 396
issues 38
subscribers 6
forks 6



2 days ago

:star2: Features

  • Cargo-like rocks.toml file for declaring all your plugins.
  • Name-based installation ("nvim-neorg/neorg" becomes :Rocks install neorg instead).
  • Automatic dependency and build script management.
  • Supports multiple versions of the same dependency.
  • True semver versioning!
  • Minimal, non-intrusive UI.
  • Async execution.
  • Extensible, with a Lua API.
  • Command completions for plugins and versions on luarocks.org.
  • Binary rocks pulled from rocks-binaries so you don't have to compile them.


:moon: Introduction

rocks.nvim revolutionizes Neovim plugin management by streamlining the way users and developers handle plugins and dependencies. Integrating directly with luarocks, this plugin offers an automated approach that shifts the responsibility of specifying dependencies and build steps from users to plugin authors.

:grey_question: Why rocks.nvim

The traditional approach to Neovim plugin management often places an unjust burden on users.

Consider the following example using lazy.nvim:

  dependencies = {
      '4O4/reactivex', -- LuaRocks dependency
      build = function(plugin)
        -- post-install build step required to link the luarocks dependency
        vim.uv.fs_symlink(plugin.dir, plugin.dir .. "/lua", { dir = true })
  build = "make install" -- Post-install build step of the main plugin

This setup illustrates several pain points in the status quo:

  • Manual dependency management: Users are often required to manually specify and manage dependencies.
  • Breaking changes: Updates to a plugin's dependencies can lead to breaking changes for users.
  • Platform-specific instructions: Build instructions and dependencies may vary by platform, adding complexity.
  • Because of this horrible UX, plugin authors have been reluctant to add dependencies, preferring to copy/paste code instead.

rocks.nvim simplifies the above example to:

:Rocks install bar.nvim

Welcome to a new era of Neovim plugin management - where simplicity meets efficiency!

:milky_way: Philosophy

rocks.nvim itself is designed based on the UNIX philosophy: Do one thing well.

It doesn't dictate how you as a user should configure your plugins. But there's an optional module for those seeking additional configuration capabilities: rocks-config.nvim.

We have packaged many Neovim plugins and tree-sitter parsers for luarocks, and an increasing number of plugin authors have been publishing themselves. Additionally, rocks-git.nvim ensures you're covered even when a plugin isn't directly available on LuaRocks.

:deciduous_tree: Enhanced tree-sitter support

We're revolutionizing the way Neovim users and plugin developers interact with tree-sitter parsers. With the introduction of the Neovim User Rocks Repository (NURR), we have automated the packaging and publishing of many plugins and curated[^2] tree-sitter parsers for luarocks, ensuring a seamless and efficient user experience.

[^2]: We only upload parsers which we can install in the NURR CI (tested on Linux).

When installing, rocks.nvim will also search our rocks-binaries (dev) server, which means you don't even need to compile any parsers on your machine.

Effortless installation for users

If you need a tree-sitter parser for syntax highlighting or other features, you can easily install them with rocks.nvim: :Rocks install tree-sitter-<lang>.

They come bundled with queries, so once installed, all you need to do is run vim.treesitter.start() to enable syntax highlighting[^3].

Or, you can use our rocks-treesitter.nvim module, which can automatically install parsers and enable syntax highlighting for you.

[^3]: You can put this in a ftplugin/<filetype>.lua, for example. nvim-treesitter is still required for tree-sitter based folding, indentation, etc., but you don't need to configure it to install any parsers.


  • Tree-sitter is an experimental feature of Neovim. As is the case with nvim-treesitter, please consider tree-sitter support in rocks.nvim experimental.

  • We are not affiliated with the nvim-treesitter maintainers. If you are facing issues with tree-sitter support in rocks.nvim, please don't bug them.

Simplifying dependencies

For plugin developers, specifying a tree-sitter parser as a dependency is now as straightforward as including it in their project's rockspec^4. This eliminates the need for manual parser management and ensures that dependencies are automatically resolved and installed.

Example rockspec dependency specification:

dependencies = {

:pencil: Requirements

  • An up-to-date Neovim >= 0.10 installation.
  • The git command line utility.
  • wget or curl (if running on a UNIX system) - required for the remote :source command to work.
  • netrw enabled in your Neovim configuration - enabled by default but some configurations manually disable the plugin.
  • A lua 5.1 installation (for luarocks).


If you are running on an esoteric architecture (i.e. something different to Linux, Windows or MacOS), rocks.nvim will attempt to compile its dependencies instead of pulling a pre-built binary. For the process to succeed you must have a C++17 parser and Rust toolchain installed on your system.

:inbox_tray: Installation

:zap: Installation script (recommended)

The days of bootstrapping and editing your configuration are over. rocks.nvim can be installed directly through an interactive installer within Neovim.

We suggest starting nvim without loading RC files, such that already installed plugins do not interfere with the installer:

nvim -u NORC -c "source https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvim-neorocks/rocks.nvim/master/installer.lua"


For security reasons, we recommend that you read :help :source and the installer code before running it so you know exactly what it does.


To configure the luarocks installation to use a specific lua install, use environment variables LUA_BINDIR=<Directory of lua binary> and LUA_BINDIR_SET=yes.

For example:

LUA_BINDIR="${XDG_BIN_DIR:-$HOME/.local/bin}" LUA_BINDIR_SET=yes nvim -u NORC -c "source ...

:rocket: Bootstrapping Script

For those who want rocks.nvim to automatically install itself whenever it isn't installed one may use the bootstrapping script. Place the following script into your init.lua:

    -- Specifies where to install/use rocks.nvim
    local install_location = vim.fs.joinpath(vim.fn.stdpath("data"), "rocks")

    -- Set up configuration options related to rocks.nvim (recommended to leave as default)
    local rocks_config = {
        rocks_path = vim.fs.normalize(install_location),
        luarocks_binary = vim.fs.joinpath(install_location, "bin", "luarocks"),

    vim.g.rocks_nvim = rocks_config

    -- Configure the package path (so that plugin code can be found)
    local luarocks_path = {
        vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_config.rocks_path, "share", "lua", "5.1", "?.lua"),
        vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_config.rocks_path, "share", "lua", "5.1", "?", "init.lua"),
    package.path = package.path .. ";" .. table.concat(luarocks_path, ";")

    -- Configure the C path (so that e.g. tree-sitter parsers can be found)
    local luarocks_cpath = {
        vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_config.rocks_path, "lib", "lua", "5.1", "?.so"),
        vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_config.rocks_path, "lib64", "lua", "5.1", "?.so"),
    package.cpath = package.cpath .. ";" .. table.concat(luarocks_cpath, ";")

    -- Load all installed plugins, including rocks.nvim itself
    vim.opt.runtimepath:append(vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_config.rocks_path, "lib", "luarocks", "rocks-5.1", "rocks.nvim", "*"))

-- If rocks.nvim is not installed then install it!
if not pcall(require, "rocks") then
    local rocks_location = vim.fs.joinpath(vim.fn.stdpath("cache"), "rocks.nvim")

    if not vim.uv.fs_stat(rocks_location) then
        -- Pull down rocks.nvim

    -- If the clone was successful then source the bootstrapping script
    assert(vim.v.shell_error == 0, "rocks.nvim installation failed. Try exiting and re-entering Neovim!")

    vim.cmd.source(vim.fs.joinpath(rocks_location, "bootstrap.lua"))

    vim.fn.delete(rocks_location, "rf")

Upon running nvim the bootstrapping script should engage!

[!NOTE] If you would like to break down this snippet into separate files, make sure that the runtimepath and configuration snippet (the do .. end block) executes before the actual bootstrapping logic. You will get errors if you do it the other way around!

:hammer: Manual installation

For manual installation, see this tutorial.

:books: Usage

Installing rocks

You can install rocks with the :Rocks install {rock} {version?} {args[]?} command.


  • rock: The luarocks package.
  • version: Optional. Used to pin a rock to a specific version.
  • args[]: Optional arguments, e.g. opt=true, to prevent rocks.nvim from automatically sourcing a rock at startup.


:Rocks install neorg
:Rocks install neorg 8.0.0
:Rocks install tree-sitter-toml dev
:Rocks install kanagawa.nvim opt=true


  • The command provides fuzzy completions for rocks and versions on luarocks.org.
  • Installs the latest version if version is omitted.
  • This plugin keeps track of installed plugins in a rocks.toml file, which you can commit to version control.
  • If you specify dev or scm as the version, luarocks will search the dev manifest. This has the side-effect that it will prioritise dev versions of any dependencies that aren't declared with version constraints.

Updating rocks

Running the :Rocks update command will attempt to update every available rock if it is not pinned.

Syncing rocks

The :Rocks sync command synchronizes the installed rocks with the rocks.toml.


  • Installs missing rocks.
  • Ensures that the correct versions are installed.
  • Uninstalls unneeded rocks.

Uninstalling rocks

To uninstall a rock and any of its dependencies, that are no longer needed, run the :Rocks prune {rock} command.


  • The command provides fuzzy completions for rocks that can safely be pruned without breaking dependencies.

Editing rocks.toml

The :Rocks edit command opens the rocks.toml file for manual editing. Make sure to run :Rocks sync when you are done.

Lazy loading plugins

By default, rocks.nvim will source all plugins at startup. To prevent it from sourcing a plugin, you can specify opt = true in the rocks.toml file.

For example:

neorg = { version = "1.0.0", opt = true }


version = "1.0.0"
opt = true

You can then load the plugin with Neovim's built-in :packadd {rock} command[^1].

[^1]: rocks.nvim maintains symlinks to installed rocks' plugin directories in a site/pack/luarocks/opt/{rock} directory, so colorschemes, etc., are available before rocks.nvim initializes. See also :h packadd.


A note on loading rocks

Luarocks packages are installed differently than you are used to from Git repositories.

Specifically, luarocks installs a rock's Lua API to the package.path and the package.cpath It does not have to be added to Neovim's runtime path (e.g. using :packadd), for it to become available. This does not impact Neovim's startup time.

Runtime directories (:h runtimepath), on the other hand, are installed to a separate location. Plugins that utilise these directories may impact startup time (if it has ftdetect or plugin scripts), so you may or may not benefit from loading them lazily.


Should I lazy load plugins?

Making sure a plugin doesn't unnecessarily impact startup time should be the responsibility of plugin authors, not users. As is the case with dependencies, a plugin's functionality may evolve over time, potentially leading to breakage if it's the user who has to worry about lazy loading.

A plugin that implements its own lazy initialization properly will likely have less overhead than the mechanisms used by a plugin manager or user to load that plugin lazily.

If you find a plugin that takes too long to load, or worse, forces you to load it manually at startup with a call to a heavy setup function, consider opening an issue on the plugin's issue tracker.

Pinning installed plugins

You can pin plugins with the pin field, so that they are skipped by :Rocks update.

For example:

version = "7.0.0"
pin = true


:Rocks install neorg 7.0.0 pin=true

You can also pin/unpin installed plugins with:

:Rocks [pin|unpin] {rock}

:package: Extending rocks.nvim

This plugin provides a Lua API for extensibility. See :h rocks.api for details.

Following are some examples:

To extend rocks.nvim, simply install a module with :Rocks install, and you're good to go!

:stethoscope: Troubleshooting

The :Rocks log command opens a log file for the current session, which contains the luarocks stderr output, among other logs.

:link: Related projects

  • luarocks-tag-release: A GitHub action that automates publishing to luarocks.org
  • NURR: A repository that publishes Neovim plugins and tree-sitter parsers to luarocks.org
  • luarocks.nvim: Adds basic support for installing lua rocks to lazy.nvim

:book: License

rocks.nvim is licensed under GPLv3.

:green_heart: Contributing

Contributions are more than welcome! See CONTRIBUTING.md for a guide.