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🍲 Hotpot

You take this home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, some neovim... baby, you got a stew going!

~ Fennel Programmers (probably)

Hotpot is a Fennel compiler plugin for Neovim. Just (require :my-fennel) and Hotpot does the rest, recompiling your fennel code as needed.

;; ~/.config/nvim/fnl/is_neat.fnl
;; put your fennel code in fnl/
(fn [what] (print what "is neat!"))
-- and require it like normal in your lua file
local neat = require('is_neat') -- compiled & cached on demand
neat("fennel") -- => "fennel is neat!"



  • Neovim 0.9.1+
  • Fanatical devotion to parentheses.

Getting Started


All you need to do is install Hotpot and call require("hotpot") in your init.lua Neovim configuration file.

First lets setup our init.lua file. In this example we use the lazy.nvim plugin manager, but other plugin manager will follow the same pattern -- likely without the runtimepath alterations.

-- ~/.config/nvim/init.lua

-- As per lazy's install instructions
local lazypath = vim.fn.stdpath("data") .. "/lazy/lazy.nvim"
if not vim.loop.fs_stat(lazypath) then
    "--branch=stable", -- latest stable release

-- Bootstap hotpot into lazy plugin dir if it does not exist yet.
local hotpotpath = vim.fn.stdpath("data") .. "/lazy/hotpot.nvim"
if not vim.loop.fs_stat(hotpotpath) then
  vim.notify("Bootstrapping hotpot.nvim...", vim.log.levels.INFO)

-- As per lazy's install instructions, but insert hotpots path at the front
vim.opt.runtimepath:prepend({hotpotpath, lazypath})

require("hotpot") -- optionally you may call require("hotpot").setup(...) here

-- include hotpot as a plugin so lazy will update it
local plugins = {"rktjmp/hotpot.nvim"}

-- include the rest of your config

The say-hello module would be put in ~/.config/nvim/fnl/say-hello.fnl:

;; ~/.config/nvim/fnl/say-hello.fnl
(print :hello!)


Place all your fennel files under a fnl dir, as you would place lua files under lua. This practice extends to other folders outside of your config directory, such as plugins you may write or install.

With your file in the correct location, you only need to require it like you would any normal lua module.

;; ~/.config/nvim/fnl/is_neat.fnl
;; some kind of fennel code
(fn [what]
  (print what "is neat!"))
-- and in ~/.config/nvim/init.lua
local neat = require('is_neat')
neat("fennel") -- => "fennel is neat!"

Hotpot will keep an internal cache of lua code, so you won't see files cluttering the lua/ directory.

You can may want to read the cookbook or see more options in setup.


The setup() function may optionally be called. setup() provides access to Fennels configuration options as described on fennel-lang.org as well as some configuration of hotpot itself.

You do not have to call setup unless you are altering a default option.

  -- provide_require_fennel defaults to disabled to be polite with other
  -- plugins but enabling it is recommended.
  provide_require_fennel = false,
  enable_hotpot_diagnostics = true,
  compiler = {
    -- options passed to fennel.compile for modules, defaults to {}
    modules = {
      -- not default but recommended, align lua lines with fnl source
      -- for more debuggable errors, but less readable lua.
      -- correlate = true
    -- options passed to fennel.compile for macros, defaults as shown
    macros = {
      env = "_COMPILER" -- MUST be set along with any other options
    -- A function that accepts a string of fennel source and a table of
    -- of some information. Can be used to alter fennel code before it is
    -- compiled.
    preprocessor = nil
  • provide_require_fennel inserts a package.preload function that will load Hotpot's copy of fennel when you call (require :fennel). This can be useful for ergonomics or for compatibility with libraries that expect Fennel to be in package.path without having to pay the cost of loading the Fennel compiler when its not used.

  • enable_hotpot_diagnostics enable or disable automatic attachment of diagnostics to fennel buffers. See diagnostics.

  • compiler.modules is passed to the Fennel compiler when compiling regular module files.

  • compiler.macros is passed to the Fennel compiler when compiling macro files. Be sure to include env = "_COMPILER" unless you have a good reason not to.

  • compiler.preprocessor is a function that accepts the fennel source code as a string, and a table, {: path : modname : macro}.

Fennel compiler plugins are supported in two forms, as a table (ie. as described by Fennels documentation) and as a string which should be a module name. If your plugin needs access to the "compiler environment" (ie. it uses special forms such as (sym) or (macroexpand) not available to "normal" Fennel code), you should specify the module name and hotpot will load it when required in the compiler environment.


  • The filename compilation option is always set to the appropriate value and can not be altered via the setup interface.

  • The modules and macros tables replace the defaults when given, they are not merged. Include all options you wish to pass to the compiler!

  • The compiler options are not currently passed to any api.compile functions and are only applied to Hotpots internal/automatic compilation. If you have use for passing options to api.compile please open an issue.

For a complete list of compiler options, see Fennels documentation, specifically the API usage section.


Hotpot can optionally be configured to build lua/ directories on-save with per-project settings by using a .hotpot.lua file.

See :h hotpot-cookbook-using-dot-hotpot in the COOKBOOK.


Hotpot ships with built in diagnostics feature to show fennel compilation errors via Neovim diagnostics.

It automatically attaches to buffers with the filetype fennel and updates when ever you leave insert mode or otherwise change the buffer.

"Macro modules" require a special fennel environment. To detect "macro modules", Hotpot checks if the buffer filename ends in macro.fnl or macros.fnl which is common practice. It's not currently possible to enable the macro environment in other contexts (please open an issue).


Hotpot provides a number of functions for evaluating and compiling Fennel code, including helpers to easily operate on strings, selections and buffers for example.

See :h hotpot.api.


Hotpot provides 3 commands which behave similarly but not exactly like Neovims Lua commands (see :h lua-commands).

It also allows the :source command to work with .fnl files.

:[range]Fnl {expression}

: Evaluates {expression} or range

If given form is preceded by =, the result is passed through fennel.view and printed. Multiple return values are separated with , .

You may also use = when providing a range.

If a range and a form is provided, the range is ignored.

:Fnl (vim.keymap.set ...) ;; evaluates code, no output
:Fnl (values 99 (+ 1 1)) ;; evaluates code, no output
:Fnl =(values 99 (+ 1 1)) ;; evaluates code, outputs "99, 2"
:Fnl=(+ 1 1) ;; You may omit the space

:'<,'>Fnl ;; evaluates selection in current buffer
:1,10Fnl = ;; evaluate lines 1 to 10 in current buffer, prints output
:'<,'>Fnl= ;; again, the space may be omitted

:'<,'>Fnl (print :hello) ;; prints "hello" (range is ignored)

:[range]Fnldo {expression}

: Evaluates {expression} for each line in [range]

The result of the expression replaces each line in turn. Two variables are available inside {expression}, line and linenr.

:'<,'>Fnldo (string.format "%d: %s" linenr (line:reverse))
=> Prepends line number and reverses the contents of line

:Fnlfile {file}

: Evaluates {file}, see also :h :source.

:Fnlfile %

:Fnlfile my-file.fnl

:source {file}

: See :h :source


Hotpot expects the user to specify most maps themselves via the API functions (see :h hotpot.api). It does provide one <Plug> mapping for operator-pending eval.


Enters operator-pending mode and evaluates the Fennel code specified by the proceeding motion.

map <Plug> ghe <Plug>(hotpot-operator-eval)

gheip -> evauate fennel code in paragraph

Module preference

Given the directory structure,


and a call (require :code), Hotpot will opt to load the lua file instead of compiling the fennel source and overwriting mod/lua/code.lua.

This behaviour exists in case a plugin ships with both code in both the lua and fnl directories, but the plugin author has post-processed the compiled lua code, or is using an incompatible fennel version, etc.

In most cases, such as your config, Hotpot won't create mod/lua/code.lua and you won't run into any issues but it may encounter friction when writing a plugin in fennel.


  • Hotpot will only compile fennel files that are found in Neovims RTP. It will evaluate files that are found in luas package.path. This is for safety purposes because it can be unclear where and when its safe to compile or overwrite .lua files. In most usage this won't occur -- files will be found in the RTP first but it can occur when executing in scratch buffers with the api or via commands.


Hotpot embeds fennel.lua, see lua/hotpot/fennel.lua for licensing information.