Prasenjit Kumar Nag a.k.a Joy

A Developers Adventure in Coding

Making Your Terminal More Intuitive With Oh-my-zsh and Other Tools

I have started using Terminal massively since I got my Macbook back in 2010. I used it in Ubuntu but not that much. So I have always been searching for way about how to be more productive in Terminal and at the same time make it look beautiful as pass a great amount of time everyday. So I will be sharing some of the cool things I found in the internet which made my Macbook’s Terminal far better than it was before. Here is a screenshot of my current terminal window.

As you can see in the screenshot it’s looking pretty good(well at least to me). It has detected that the directory I am currently in is a GIT repo and I am in master branch. And the arrows you see in the prompt is batttery strength indicator. Pretty interesting Huh! I am using the some tools which made it so. They are:

  1. Solarized Dark Ansi Theme: It’s(link) a very popular theme and have a port for many popular editors. You can it’s homepage to check screenshots.
  2. Adding colors: Mac’s Terminal App doesn’t natively support various colors for texts. But following this  you can add more colors into Terminal.
  3. System wide Terminal: As I had to launch terminal very frequently I was searching for a solution which will allow me to fire the terminal using a keyboard Hotkey and terminal will appear above all applications. And found Totalterminal as a rescue. Now I just press CTRL(you can configure the triggering key to you preference) two times and the terminal appears immediately. And you have iTerm2 as an alternative with other useful features. Try any of them and stick with the one you like.
  4. oh-my-zsh : I have been using bash as my login(default) shell until I came to know about this project. Mac osx comes with a number of shells like bash, csh, tcsh, ksh, sh and zsh . And bash is the default shell which starts if you dont change it to something else. oh-my-zsh is a very popular project by Robby Russel. I has a magic one line installer found  in it’s github(follow the above link) page. Some of the features I like about oh-my-zsh are more intuitive command completion, command auto correction prompts, git repo branch detection, battery strength indication and many others. I found it a month ago and never looked back. :)

So based on my experience I can say that you can try oh-my-zsh. You wont be disappointed.

If you are using Mac try the more organized write up here on nettuts. If you are using Ubuntu check this Gist on how to install oh-my-zsh in Ubuntu. :)