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I am writing a plugin for Neovim using Lua.

If I have a text and some predefined arbitrary types, for example:

chita 
wolf
grizzly

types: dog(green), cat(blue), bear(yellow)

And I know positions/indices of words that belong to the types.

What is a better approach to highlight words in the buffer according to the types using Lua?

Update

Looks like I can set custom highlight groups for this purpose:

hi MyDog guifg=red ctermfg=red
match MyDog /wolf/

But I still do not understand how to apply a highlight group not by pattern matching, but by positions in text.

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  • 3
    With vim probably text properties. Not sure about neovim/lua
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Aug 23 at 11:56
  • 2
    Patterns can accept line/col numbers: :help /\%c I think
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Aug 23 at 21:17
  • 1
    I did not know about text properties, they can be quite useful at some point, thanks @D. Ben Knoble. The matchaddpods() highlights positions in line/col grid (it is fine for my current plugin), while text properties allow to connect highlighting to text itself.
    – dimus
    Aug 27 at 11:23
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I found matchaddpos function that did allow to solve highlighting programmatically.

Given a text:

wolf, cat black bear,
lion, dog, grizzly,
puma, bear, fox, chita,

I can highlight entries by categories with this function:

local M = {}

M.highlight = function()
  vim.cmd "hi Dogs guifg=green ctermfg=green"
  vim.cmd "hi Cats guifg=yellow ctermfg=yellow"
  vim.cmd "hi Bears guifg=cyan ctermfg=cyan"
  local data = {
    {group = "Dogs", line = 1, pos = 1, len = 4},
    {group = "Cats", line = 1, pos = 7, len = 3},
    {group = "Bears", line = 1, pos = 11, len = 10},
    {group = "Cats", line = 2, pos = 1, len = 4},
    {group = "Dogs", line = 2, pos = 7, len = 3},
    {group = "Bears", line = 2, pos = 12, len = 7},
    {group = "Cats", line = 3, pos = 1, len = 4},
    {group = "Bears", line = 3, pos = 7, len = 4},
    {group = "Dogs", line = 3, pos = 13, len = 3},
    {group = "Cats", line = 3, pos = 18, len = 5}
  }

  for _, datum in pairs(data) do
    local hi_cmd =
      vim.fn.printf('call matchaddpos("%s", [[%d, %d, %d]])', datum.group, datum.line, datum.pos, datum.len)
    vim.cmd(hi_cmd)
  end
end

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