Fuzzy finders can be a good tool for navigating files in a codebase, but they don’t give you the same functionality as a properly set path option in vim. Key mappings like gf, [i, [d, and commands like :find depend on having your path set correctly to find the file you’re searching for. Using the :find command also gives us the ability to tab complete a file name, a feature which fuzzy finders do not offer.

An poorly set path can cause a significant slow down when trying to tab complete a filename with :find, or jump to a file with gf, especially if you work with languages like javascript where projects contain the fathomless void known as node_modules.

In his excellent gist, romainl illustrates how a well set path can make navigating a codebase quick and easy, capturing only the files relevant to our work in a project. However, in his gist he sets the path manually, what I want to do is automatically set the path on a per-project basis. My answer to this, is to use fd.

The Code

I added the following code to my init.lua, but it can work in vimscript and in regular vim as well! This requires that you have the fd binary installed on your machine.

vim.o.path = table.concat(vim.fn.systemlist("fd . --type d"),",")

Since fd will respect your .gitignore file, the above code will set every directory currently tracked by git in your path, ensuring that you can access your project files without having to deal with slowdowns caused by vim looking inside of directories such as node_modules.

To speed things up when you open a directory in a path that is not currently tracked by git, you can use the following snippet:

local setPath = function()
  if gitBranch() ~= "" then
    return ".," .. table.concat(vim.fn.systemlist("fd . --type d --hidden -E .git -E .yarn"),","):gsub("%./", "") .. "," .. table.concat(vim.fn.systemlist("fd --type f --max-depth 1"), ","):gsub("%./", "") -- grab both the dirs and the top level filesystem
    return vim.o.path

vim.o.path = setPath()

See Also