Using Vim and LiveReload

Written by: Florian Motlik

TL:DR: Use Livereload to never press F5 in your browser again and if you use Vim try my new Extension A source of constantly wasted time when developing for the web is reloading your pages. Especially when editing CSS continuously reloading your page takes lots of time and focus away from your editor. Of course you can edit CSS inside your browser, but then you have to merge those changes back into your CSS or HTML files again, which is error prone and boring. A much better way instead is using Livereload. Livereload reloads your page whenever you change any file. When it detects changes in a CSS or Javascript file it merges them into the current page. This is especially great when you work on your CSS as any change is immediately visible in your browser. There are several ways to get started with Livereload. If you use a Mac simply buy their App from the App store. It costs $9.99 and works very fine. You earn the cost back in productivity on day one. Easily. There is a guard integration for Livereload as well. If you prefer having Livereload included in your development tools there are several options. Their Help Pages show support for various popular editors like TextMate and Sublime2. Sadly no Vim support. So here it is the all new Vim-Livereload Extension


The Vim-Livereload plugin tells your browser to reload the page you watch over with Livereload on every save. Simply click the Livereload button in your browser to listen to events and the next time you save your file it will be reloaded and CSS will be merged automatically. Setup is really simple (if you use Janus, never tried it with anything else)

  • Clone into ~/.janus folder

  • cd into vim-livereload and run rake Rake initialises the submodules and pulls the latest changes. The plugin needs Vim with Ruby support. It uses eventmachine to open a Socket and receive requests from the 

Livereload Chrome Browser plugin. I only tested it with Chrome and the latest version in the chrome store.


Give Livereload and the Vim plugin a try. It is incredibly easy and makes you much more productive immediately. As developers we should always thrive to be more efficient in our day to day work. Cutting those small little actions you do thousands of times per day makes your development lean and productive. If you have any tips on improving your workflow step by step simply add a comment down below. I really want to know your little tricks to be a better and faster developer.

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