The decreasing social value of Vim

The Emacs is Dead article by Tomohiro Matsuyama argues that Emacs plugins written in Emacs Lisp have a lower "social value" than those that are not written in Emacs Lisp. The reason is that plugins written using Emacs Lisp are limited to the world of Emacs, whereas those written as generic tools can also benefit other software ecosystems (e.g. usage as command line tools). As the "power" of Emacs Lisp increases, the "social value" of Emacs decreases, as more and more plugins get written exclusively for Emacs using Emacs Lisp.

How does this relate to Vim? By Matsuyama's measure of social value, we can say that Vim has a higher social value than Emacs. Vim plugin authors have been writing plugins using other languages (primarily Python) due to the limitations of the native Vimscript. As a result, some have written Python software that is also useful outside of Vim. People outside the Vim ecosystem thus benefit along with Vim, which means that Vim is providing "social value".

Vim 9 is described as "an experimental fork of Vim, exploring ways to make Vim script faster and better". While this is good news for Vimscript, this might be bad news for Vim's social value. As the power of Vimscript increases, more and more Vim plugins are going to be written exclusively in Vimscript. Other ecosystems do not benefit much from this. In this way, we can say that improvements to Vimscript have an unintended side effect of decreasing the social value of Vim. This has been going on for quite some time now. Vim has gradually become a more extensible text editor, with a robust plugin ecosystem. If the improvements to Vimscript in Vim 9 prove to be a huge leap forwards for Vimscript, the social value of Vim may fall precipitously.