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Visual cue to distinguish modes

See original GitHub issue

In vanilla Kakoune and also in Dance I tend to mix up which mode I’m in. I know the status bar shows me “Normal” or “Insert”, but it is usually far away from the cursor, where my eyes are, and I have to search for the text between all the other information VSCode shows in the status bar.

I love how in Vim you can spot the difference just by looking at the cursor: a block for normal mode, and a line for insert mode. However, this is not an option for Dance, because of the (very well founded!) choice to support zero width selections.

I was thinking about other ways to visually distinguish normal mode and insert mode. Till now, I’ve come up with two ideas:

  • Change the way the current line is highlighted:
    • while in insert mode highlight it: "editor.renderLineHighlight": "line"
    • while in normal mode remove the highlighting: "editor.renderLineHighlight": "none"
  • Change the color of the status bar (don’t know if this is easily doable).

What do you think of these options?

Issue Analytics

  • State:closed
  • Created 4 years ago
  • Comments:22 (9 by maintainers)

github_iconTop GitHub Comments

71commented, Oct 5, 2021

Note: lineHighlight is ignored now, and decorations.backgroundColor should be used instead (see for an example).

71commented, Nov 23, 2019

About using a block character – why not, but I want this behind an optional preference, and this isn’t high priority for me (but I’ll try to accept a PR that implements it if you want to submit one).

It will definitely require some changes in the existing code, but something nice about this is that this is the way Kakoune originally works, so this option will increase compatibility with Kakoune, and any of the choices we make regarding its implementation can be made by looking at the way Kakoune does it.

Regarding the line highlight – I’ve been using the current config for a few days now as a long time Vim user (so I’m used to looking at the cursor to find out if I’m in normal or insert), and I no longer confuse the two modes. I do understand your preference, and suggest putting this behind a user preference. How about adding dance.{normal,insert}Mode.lineHighlight which can be false, an hex color, or a theme color name?

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