Customizing Mac OS X Shell

August 22, 2012

Shell Screen 1

I’ve been customizing my Mac OS X shell a bit today. The cyan above is for the current directory and the purple shows the current git branch, which is why it appears when I change directory to a git repository.

FIRST: oh-my-zsh

I used oh-my-zsh to start, but I didn’t like any of the included themes.

NEXT: thoughtbot/dotfiles

The thoughtbot guys have put together a nice zsh dotfiles setup. They include a handy little script that symlinks from the dotfiles directory to your .* files themselves, making it easy to link up your dotfiles to a github repository for sharing and copying to additional computers.


My contribution to all this? I extracted the code the thoughtbot guys used to generate their prompt and made a zsh-theme file out of it:


  # adds the current branch name in green
  git_prompt_info() {
    ref=$(git symbolic-ref HEAD 2> /dev/null)
    if [[ -n $ref ]]; then
      echo "[%{$fg_bold[magenta]%}${ref#refs/heads/}%{$reset_color%}]"

  # expand functions in the prompt
  setopt prompt_subst

  # prompt
  export PROMPT='$(git_prompt_info)[${SSH_CONNECTION+"%{$fg_bold[green]%}%n@%m:"}%{$fg_bold[blue]%}%1~%{$reset_color%}] '

  local return_status="%{$fg[red]%}%(?..✘)%{$reset_color%}"

I added an idea from Steve Losh and from Aaron Malone. By the way, I really like those themes as well. I recommend Aaron’s version just because it’s a little more robust.

What theme am I using in the screenshot? Tomorrow Night Eighties from Chris Kempson’s Tomorrow Night Eighties for iTerm2. I’m also using the Tomorrow Theme to highlight the code above.

My Files

You can check out my dotfiles and customized oh-my-zsh on my github.

Feedback and suggestions welcome.