Oh My Zsh!

So you’ve gotten to know the command-line. You’ve felt like a true hacker and thrown away the mouse long ago. Or maybe not. One thing that always bothered me while using the command-line on my MacBook, was the lack of information given on datatypes. It was just plain text regardless of whether it displayed a directory, an executable or just a simple file. You might be sitting there in front of your Linux computer smirking right now, but most of you are probably thinking “I never knew there was a way to make the command-line better”. Well, there is and thy name is ZSH.

Like bash, zsh is a UNIX shell. Zsh however adds many great features for making your time with the command-line easier. It gets even better. There is an open source framework for zsh named Oh My Zsh which lets you customize your command-line with themes and shortcuts. Say you’re in your Home directory and want to cd to Downloads. It used to be that you had to write three letters before you could tab, because Desktop and Documents share their first letters. Not anymore. Now all you need to do is type cd d and tab your way through. You can even use your directional keys.

As you can see, the directories have now been colored to differentiate them from files. The long address and name has simply been replaced with an arrow, followed by a tilde to let you know you’re in the Home directory. You might also have noticed that I only had to enter ll to get a long list. This is because Oh My Zsh comes with many shortcuts pre-defined. These are only a handful of features that’ll make you even more proficient at using the command-line. Please see our guide on how to install Oh My Zsh to start using it now.

Until next time, keep coding.

Install UNIX Shell on Windows 10

So you want the benefits of running the command-line interface on a UNIX based system, but won’t switch to Linux or macOS? Luckily there’s a solution. It used to be that you had to install a UNIX-like environment like Cygwin. UNIX-like meaning it simulated a UNIX CLI (Command-Line Interface), but was restrained to only work within Cygwins’ own sub-directories. This not only meant that all your code had to be inside a Cygwin directory, but more importantly, no zsh shell.

Fret not, those days are over. Now you can choose to get a Windows subsystem for Linux. As of February 2018, this is a completely new feature so be sure to tell your friends, family and colleagues. They might not have heard of it. Now, lets get to work.

  • Open PowerShell as administrator:

  • Run the following line:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  • Restart the computer when prompted.

For this next part, you need to make sure you’re running Windows build 16215 on newer.

  • Go to Settings > System > About and look for OS Build:

For earlier versions follow these instructions using lxrun.

  • Open the Microsoft Store and choose your favorite Linux distribution. We went for Ubuntu.

  • Once the download has completed, select “Launch”.

This will open a console window. Wait for installation to complete then you will be prompted to create your LINUX user account.

Congratulations, you’re good to go! You can even run bash and zsh shells in your Windows Command Prompt, but don’t expect it to look as nice as on Linux and macOS. Remember to install Oh My Zsh, it looks way better. Installation guide can be found here.

If you at any point had trouble during this guide, visit the Microsoft guide.

Until next time, keep coding.