The Single Best Skill to Master Command Line
I have a confession to make. I'm very poor with memory stuff. My brain is using neurons to mostly process data, instead of keeping them.
I'm very poor with memory stuff. So I use shortcuts, both in brain and code, that make me look smart. I don't like remember stuff, I won't enjoy them and use them.
Accidentally, my poor memory makes me the most productive programmer in the room. And you can be too. How?
I had the Symfony & Git training last Friday. We were using a single
master branch on Gitlab and multiple programmers send their pull-requests into. We needed to pull and rebase after the feature was merged into the
How did they do it? It was similar to:
- git checkout -b new-branch # oh, there is some code in this branch - git checkout . - git checkout -b new-branch # working and making some file changes - git add . - git commit -m Some message # damn I forgot quotes - git commit -m "Some message" - git checkout master # damn I forgot to push - git push # what branch? oh damn, this one of course - git push new-branch # now I can merge it and I can get new master version - git checkout master - git pull # oh, I made accidentally some change - git add . - git commit -m "add master changes" - git pull # oh, I've heard this is better with some lease or what - git pull --with-lease # oh finally I have local code here - git branch # damn that branch is still here :/ - git branch -d new-branch # damn, why is this the only big letter here? - git branch -D new-branch
...30 minutes later they're done. But does it have to take so long?
I keep getting the same feedback from most of my trainings:
"Wow you're fast at coding".
And I keep replying:
"I'm not, I'm just much lazier than you."
What does that mean? If you'd record my keyboard for the process above, it would look more like this:
nb new-branch gc "Some Message" p cmp db new-branch rema gc p pul gc ...
You get the idea. For you, it looks like a cat is walking my keyboard, or I'm having a party at home with way too much wine. For you.
For me it's a path of 2-3 neurons, that invoke some operation I want to achieve.
The Alias File
Secret is in
~/.aliases file (
~ = user home directory), that looks like this:
# ~/.aliases alias a="sudo subl .aliases" alias gc="git commit -m $1" alias db="git branch -D $1" alias pul="git fetch -p && git pull --rebase"
That's it! This single hack makes me so productive.
What do I use for CLI?
Oh My Zen shell
I use this on Ubuntu for the last 8 years (thanks to Michal Svec for helping me with it). It's a smart shell you can install from here - oh-my-zsh.
How to Add Aliases?
Load your aliases in the main file:
# ~/.zshrc source $HOME/.aliases
There are various shells, so specific file names might differ.
Now type "a" and voilá - the file with aliases is open!
Restart Console After Adding a New Alias
Let's say we type new alias:
# ~/.aliases alias gf="git push --force"
And save the file. Now we get back to our and type:
gf # zsh: command not found: gf
Well, the file
~/.aliases has to reloaded to make it work.
The best way to do it is to close and open the console window.
Honor One Woman Tip
You honor one woman, you honor one console. I've noticed some programmer use multiple consoles at the same time:
- PHPStorm console
- Windows console
- bash console
When I work, I always go for PHPStorm console. In rare moments like performance heavy operations outside the project scope, I got with the terminal. But I still keep preferring having opened just one.
That way I can:
- focus on one project
- have a single image in my head - compared to various console design of IDE and your OS
- have one shortcut to open it
One, one, one.
If it's two, it's too long.
Memory Overflow Tip: Don't Be Greedy with ShortCuts
Shortcuts are like cocaine. They can make you ultimately faster in small doses, but if you take too much of them, your brain will fall apart.
Pick around 10-20 shortcuts. Then every
now and then 3 months look at and validate if they still suit you.
Always alias your shortcuts you use everyday. The one above are just examples, but maybe you don't commit that much, or you don't use git at all. Maybe you work with the server.
So instead of
you 'll get with
sms (ssh, my, server)
That's what helped me, to always pick the first letter of the work.
- git pull? → gp
- git commit? → gc
- composer update? → cu
- rebase on master → rema
Keep it simple and your brain gets it :)