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I've been editing my syntax files, placing my versions in ~/.vim/syntax/.

For ~/.vim/syntax/php.vim that's worked, but for ~/.vim/syntax/html.vim for some reason it's being overridden by /usr/share/nvim/runtime/syntax/html.vim.

Is there something I can put in my .vimrc file to make this choice explicit? Or some other way?

(FWIW my init.vim declares set runtimepath^=~/.vim runtimepath+=~/.vim/after)

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  • Is there any good reason to overwrite syntax fully rather than extend it? In any case, Vim always loads all sytax files matching "xyz.vim" found in runtimepath.
    – Matt
    Jan 14 at 18:24
  • I guess simplicity - very easy to copy a file and add to/edit it. I didn't know they could be extended and wouldn't obviously know how to. Happy to learn though.
    – Codemonkey
    Jan 14 at 20:00
  • :h after-directory
    – Matt
    Jan 14 at 20:03
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Vim (or NeoVim) will always load all syntax files it finds for a specific filetype.

To allow you to override the syntax configuration bundled in Vim runtime, those scripts typically include a check at the top that will skip the execution of the rest of the script if a variable is already set. For syntax files, that is typically the buffer-local variable b:current_syntax being set.

So you can override the shipped syntax by having your script run early in 'runtimepath' (as you're already doing) and making sure that the b:current_syntax variable is set (to the name of the filetype used for syntax) at the end of the execution of your script.

See :help mysyntaxfile-replace:

If you don't like a distributed syntax file, or you have downloaded a new version, follow the same steps as for mysyntaxfile above. Just make sure that you write the syntax file in a directory that is early in 'runtimepath'. Vim will only load the first syntax file found, assuming that it sets b:current_syntax.

For the html.vim type, there's one extra caveat, that it also checks for a main_syntax variable, which is used when syntax/html.vim is being sourced as part of another filetype that embeds HTML (such as PHP!)

See this code snippet:

" quit when a syntax file was already loaded
if !exists("main_syntax")
  if exists("b:current_syntax")
    finish
  endif
  let main_syntax = 'html'
endif

So, in order to override the bundled syntax/html.vim, you need to make sure that your script sets b:current_syntax (to "html"), and that it does not set (or unlets) the main_syntax variable, to ensure the bundled script will finish execution early.

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