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Revamping my Dotfiles

#Code, #Tools

Over the past few weeks I've been working on a few projects that need PostgreSQL databases. While trying to install it on WSL2 I inadvertently broke my linux installation, and I had to delete it and create a new WSL instance. I took this opportunity to revamp my dotfiles which, admittedly, had been unmaintained for a while.

The goal of the revamp was to have everything work from a ./install command, in the hopes that my new setup would work with GitHub Codespaces. I haven’t been able to get the dotfiles to work with a codespace yet, but I’m continuing to try! I also wanted to move from the powerlevel10l prompt to Starship. Despite being more limited (no right-aligned items) it is noticeably faster. Other tools I added include:

  • Delta - A fantastic terminal diff viewer. I mainly use GitHub Desktop as a git client but this has been helpful for quicker WSL diffs.
  • bat - cat but better! Syntax highlighting out of the box is immensely helpful.
  • exa - An improved ls viewer. Icons, coloring, better meta information - and by default it lists file sizes in a format I can read!
  • tldr - I’m not a terminal whiz. I know enough to get by, but I need a lot of help to do non-trivial tasks. Stack Overflow had been my best friend for this, presenting information in a clearer way than the man-pages do. Then I discovered tldr from a Test Double Blog Post and it became one of my most used tools. tldr is easily my top recommendation.
  • Volta - I always have a couple of side projects I bounce around. They don’t all use the same node version - Volta makes installing and switching to the right version mindless.
  • Oh My Zsh - I don’t use the prompts, but I do use a few plugins and settings. If there’s something you want your terminal to do, chances are they have a plugin for it.