14 Feb 2013

Getting Started Configuring Bash/Zsh

I saw a post this afternoon by a member of Ruby Rogue’s Parley list asking how to write Ruby code to help them create a shorthand word for a longer commandline command. It takes moxy to ask questions on a list filled with many experienced developers. I was happy to see that positive responses flowed in. The immediate response was that the individual should perform the action by writing commandline aliases using the shell ‘alias’ command. But that only points the developer in the right direction. Instead of just pointing in the direction, the rest of this post will be walking a new developer through setting up helpful customizations in the shell environment. (Note, the generic information will be fairly compatible whether using the BASH environment or ZShell environment. Moving past general configurations into advanced configurations are where the two start to diverge, particularly with the environmental settings used in .bashrc or .zshrc files. I’ve found that the best remedy for this is reading through and gradually adopting a few lines here and there from well commented .bashrc/.zshrc files). Many of the customizations in the shell relate to minimizing repetitive keystrokes. Imagine the difference between typing

bundle exec rails server

and

be r s

If you’re typing this more than occasionally, it’s a large savings of keystrokes over a period of months. So how is it done? Aliases! Simply put, include the following code in your config file (a generic term that I’ll use for either .bashrc or .zshrc, depending on your shell): alias j="jobs" Or to help avoid dumb mistakes (it makes the remove command verbose and interactive =D. Even astute geeks fat finger the occasional keys ) alias rm="rm -iv".

I’ve taken to heart the adage, which I can’t attribute precisely, that anything typed more than a couple times on the commandline should be shortened to save future keystrokes. To prove this point, I currently have greater than 100 aliases and growing. Note that the following is from dumping all of my aliases to STDOUT via alias > jist -p -c and is not representative of one of my alias files. (For that, see the second inset codeblock).Here’s an example of one of my alias files… appropriately called ‘aliases.conf.zsh’:(Original code is at: https://github.com/zph/zph/blob/master/home/.zsh.d/aliases.conf.zsh) So that’s ‘aliases’. I find that they’re easier to keep organized if I setup a dedicated ‘.zsh.d’ folder. By which I mean that I created a folder called ‘.zsh.d’ in the base of my home directory with the following layout:

This folder contains all of the ‘zsh’ configuration files on my system other than ‘.zshrc’. Each general category of config files gets its own file, ie git.zsh, ruby.zsh, homebrew.zsh, etc. Helps me keep everything organized =D. I set the following lines in my ‘~/.zshrc’ to source each file within the ‘.zsh.d’ directory that has the extension of ‘.zsh’

_source_zshd(){
# Finally, source all the files in zsh.d (ALPHA order)
  for zshd in $(find ~/.zsh.d/*.zsh | sort );
    do source "${zshd}"
  done
}

This isn’t necessary, but it helps me keep the individual configurations nicely ordered. To recap, use aliases. Use the daylights out of them. Make your shell a finely honed tool that’s nicely crafted to your needs. Oh yeah… do the same with ‘functions’ which I can cover in a future blog post. And look into FASD because it’s awesome like Narwhals! Questions, thoughts, jeers, feedback… catch me on ‘ye ol Twitters’ @_ZPH

31 Jul 2012

FASD - The Commandline Shortcuts I always wanted

FASD is a shell script that follows in the concept and footsteps of Autojump and Z. It extends the functionality of both of those systems to better differentiate between files and directories. FASD also allows for tacking on different commands to the beginning of a fasd reference such as using vim in an alias, ie: alias v='fasd -e vim'. This VIM alias calls up the most active file matching that pattern and opens it in Vim. Or a simple z searchterm will find the most often and recently used folder and ‘cd’ into it! This is amazing for nested folders. It’s like Vim’s Ctrl-P or Ctrl-T but on the commandline and with more flexibility.

It’s magic and I’ll post back if I keep having good success. Try it out with a brew install fasd or check the install instructions on their github page for more options - FASD.

Update: Still having very good success. ¬†Moving from ~/ to deeply nested folders is a breeze with ‘z SOMEPARTOFPATH’ and likewise using vim to edit a deeply nested file with ‘v SOMEPARTOFNAME’. ¬†It’s nothing short of magical after 2 months of use.

Update Jan 2013: Can’t imagine living in the shell without FASD. This is now included in my environmental setup script.