Configure LSP and Cider

Practicalli recommends starting with a minimal LSP configuration to avoid conflict with features that are present in Cider. LSP features can be enabled when you find them valuable.

practicalli/spacemacs.d configuration for Spacemacs included a minimal configuration for Cider and Clojure-lsp.

The Spacemacs lsp layer has a default configuration for all languages

The LSP Mode website provides examples of LSP features and there is a long list of LSP settings

Add clojure-backend 'cider as a clojure layer variable to the clojure layer in the .spacemacs file to run Cider without LSP features.

Choose your own preferences

This configuration uses predominately CIDER features. Minimal LSP UI elements and features are added without distracting from the minimal Spacemacs experience.


SPC SPC all-the-icons-install-fonts command will install icons that support the breadcrumbs on headerline feature of LSP UI. This provides the director path, file name and symbol as a breadcrumb trail at the top of each buffer.

Spacemacs LSP breadcrumbs

Optional - clj-kondo

clojure-lsp includes the latest clj-kondo binary if not found on the execution path. so any external install of the clj-kondo binary is optional.

Remove the flycheck-clj-kondo configuration, clojure-enable-linters 'clj-kondo, from the clojure layer in .spacemacs to avoid duplication of results.

Spacemacs Clojure layer configuration

practicalli/spacemacs.d configuration uses clojure-mode features for indenting and aligning forms as you type.

In .spacemacs, the clojure layer variables allow for evaluating top-level forms from within a rich comment block. The size limit helps avoid slow-down of Emacs from too much output in the REPL buffer.

     (clojure :variables
     ;; clojure-backend 'cider               ;; use cider and disable lsp
     ;; clojure-enable-linters 'clj-kondo    ;; clj-kondo included in lsp
     cider-repl-display-help-banner nil      ;; disable help banner
     cider-pprint-fn 'fipp                   ;; fast pretty printing
     clojure-indent-style 'align-arguments
     clojure-align-forms-automatically t
     clojure-toplevel-inside-comment-form t  ;; evaluate expressions in comment as top level
     cider-result-overlay-position 'at-point ;; results shown right after expression
     cider-overlays-use-font-lock t
     cider-repl-buffer-size-limit 100        ;; limit lines shown in REPL buffer

Aligning forms

SPC m = l will align arguments in the current line or selected region. Automatic aligning of forms is not yet supported in LSP for Clojure.

LSP aligning forms not fully supported

Support for associative syntax alignment is an issue to add aligning forms to cljfmt, which is used by LSP for formatting.

Automatic aligning of forms works with clojure-mode by configuring aggressive-indent-mode, however, this seriously conflicts with LSP formatting creating an unworkable editing experience.

To auto-align arguments using clojure-mode, set lsp-enable-on-type-formatting to nil in the lsp layer configuration. Then add the following configuration in dotspacemacs/user-config section of .spacemacs

  ;; Indentation of function forms
  (setq clojure-indent-style 'align-arguments)
  ;; Vertically align s-expressions
  (setq clojure-align-forms-automatically t)
  ;; Auto-indent code automatically
  ;; WARNING - really conflicts with LSP formatting - set lsp-enable-on-type-formatting to nil in lsp layer
  (add-hook 'clojure-mode-hook #'aggressive-indent-mode)

LSP layer variables

Add the lsp layer to .spacemacs and include the following variables for an uncluttered LSP UI.

(lsp :variables
          ;; Formatting and indentation - use Cider instead
          lsp-enable-on-type-formatting t
          ;; Set to nil to use CIDER features instead of LSP UI
          lsp-enable-indentation t
          lsp-enable-snippet t  ;; to test again

          ;; symbol highlighting - `lsp-toggle-symbol-highlight` toggles highlighting
          ;; subtle highlighting for doom-gruvbox-light theme defined in dotspacemacs/user-config
          lsp-enable-symbol-highlighting t

          ;; Show lint error indicator in the mode line
          lsp-modeline-diagnostics-enable t
          ;; lsp-modeline-diagnostics-scope :workspace

          ;; popup documentation boxes
          ;; lsp-ui-doc-enable nil          ;; disable all doc popups
          lsp-ui-doc-show-with-cursor nil   ;; doc popup for cursor
          ;; lsp-ui-doc-show-with-mouse t   ;; doc popup for mouse
          ;; lsp-ui-doc-delay 2             ;; delay in seconds for popup to display
          lsp-ui-doc-include-signature t    ;; include function signature
          ;; lsp-ui-doc-position 'at-point  ;; positioning of doc popup: top bottom at-point
          lsp-ui-doc-alignment 'window      ;; relative location of doc popup: frame window

          ;; code actions and diagnostics text as right-hand side of buffer
          lsp-ui-sideline-enable nil
          lsp-ui-sideline-show-code-actions nil
          ;; lsp-ui-sideline-delay 500

          ;; lsp-ui-sideline-show-diagnostics nil

          ;; reference count for functions (assume their maybe other lenses in future)
          lsp-lens-enable t

          ;; Efficient use of space in treemacs-lsp display
          treemacs-space-between-root-nodes nil

          ;; Optimization for large files
          lsp-file-watch-threshold 10000
          lsp-log-io nil)

dotspacemacs/user-config settings

Additional settings have been added to the dotspacemacs/user-config section of .spacemacs file as they were not working as layer variables.

(setq lsp-ui-sideline-enable nil)
(setq lsp-modeline-diagnostics-scope :workspace)

Customising symbol highlighting

Symbol highlighting can be toggled using the command lsp-toggle-symbol-highlighting and the startup state can be set using the lsp layer configuration variable lsp-enable-symbol-highlighting

The face used for highlighting will vary by theme. Use the Emacs customize command to configure the lsp-syntax-highlight-read face or add the theming layer to .spacemacs and add a custom face to dotspacemacs/user-init section of .spacemacs

In this example, the default orange background color is removed and the font weigh set to bold.

         (lsp-face-highlight-read :background nil :weight bold))))

doom gruvbox light - bold highlight for lsp

Key bindings over-ridden by lsp include

, h h calls cider-doc without LSP enabled. With LSP enabled then describe-thing-at-point command is called instead. This is similar to cider-doc, however, it does not allow the navigation to the source code definition of the function.

Yas-snippets and LSP

LSP uses company-lsp mode and manages the auto-completion popup. Yasnippets do not seem to work with company-lsp (although it should be possible in theory).

SPC i s will run helm-yas and provides a menu to select and insert snippets into the current buffer. M-/ will expand a matching snippet too (although it seems to take a few tries).

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