Running Stock

August 02, 2012 📬 Get My Weekly Newsletter

One of my fellow developers asked me the other day if I had any good dotfiles for bash. I realized I don’t. I don’t even have ll aliased to ls -l like most of the known universe. I realized that I like to run as stock as I can.

Here’s what I have aliased in bash:

alias vi='mvim'
alias ps='ps auxwwwwwwww'
alias ls='ls -FG'
alias irb=pry

That’s it. I type bundle exec if I have to (and always in anger). I have a function called go that sets up a few things for working on a particular project (e.g. go gli before I start working on gli), but otherwise, I type the commands as they come and use whatever options I need at the time, even if I tend to use the same options a lot (e.g. grep -r).

Over the years, my muscle memory has evolved around just using the shell as it is and not wound around a lot of customizations. As such, when I’m tunneled into some production server, or other location where I don’t have my dotfiles (such as another developer’s box), I’m almost exactly as proficient as I am in my own environment.

Sure, it takes some probably-measurable amount of time to type bundle exec or ls -l instead of bx or ll, but I find I don’t spend a lot of my time typing things. I spend most of it reading and thinking, and there’s really no shortcut for that.

Similarly, my global git config contains only one alias: lol, which shows logs on one line (log --oneline --graph --decorate).

My .vimrc is a bit of an exception, as I have a fair amount of default configuration overridden, but in terms of mappings, I still don’t have that much set up. I use pathogen plugins and know the shortcuts many of them provide (like the amazing rails.vim), but I don’t tend to customize them that much. Here’s all the mappings I have setup:

" cd to directory of current file
map c :cd %:p:h
" open buffer list
map b n\be
" next error
map   :cnext
" fold this line
map f !!fold -w77 -s 
" ^O tries to open the thing under the cursor using gf
map  sgf
" Avoid annoying ^Z minimizing to nowhere

Again, that’s it. Whenever I’m in vi, anywhere, I’m 99% effective.

I tend to automate things away when they become annoying, so I guess I don’t tend to get annoyed by typing small words into the terminal. My brain thinks in chunks of words, which is why I dislike abbreviations and acronyms. They seem like a vestige of the days when we had to write things instead of auto-complete them.

Anyway, I’d recommend all developers try to run as stock as possible. I bet you won’t be as slowed down as you think, and you won’t feel hamstrung in an environment you can’t totally control.