`z` tracks your most used directories. After a short learning phase, it will take you to the directory, based on its usage frequency and a hint you give it on the command line. Say I am often cd'ing into /var/www - then after a while I can just type `z ww`.
I love projects like this. They so elegantly show what using the right tool for the job can do for you, in terms of code simplicity and conciseness. Doing this in, say, Perl or Python or Ruby, would be entirely possible, and folks who code exclusively in those languages might assume it would be easier in a "more powerful" language...but Bash has so many nice little built-ins that make it really concise and portable. One file, no modules, and it does exactly what it's supposed to do.
I think it's illustrative that the developer went through a Python-based version on the path to building z.
I want to be able to preview the path or directory name that z will navigate to. Something like the way the webkit developer console autocompletes an object, method, or property in light gray color. Or it could be displayed in the terminal title bar. Is that possible?
I first was excited by title "Don't waste your time by cd-ing in the terminal", but then it just turned out to be a blog post about making cd'ing quicker. If you want to boost your productivity, my advice is to stop cd'ing altogether.
I see a lot of people -- particularly vi users -- cd'ing back and forth through a large directory tree. I usually tell them to get a terminal emulator that lets you easily manage many terminals open. Open one per directory you want to operate in, for instance. Learn how to switch back and forth between the different shells.
But most importantly, don't quit the program to switch back and forth between directories and files. Learn to use your editor of choice properly: how to view directory listings, how to switch back and forth, etc. Vim can do this just fine btw. The choice of tool here doesn't matter so much. Just pick one and learn it. This applies to your choice of terminal emulator, shell, editor, etc.
Open one per directory you want to operate in, for instance.
This is a common source of headache when using the terminal as an IDE. Not only is it easy to get lost in a sea of terminal-tabs, but it's also quite cumbersome to restore the state of 5+ tabs after a shutdown or disconnect. Even more so when GNU screen enters the mix.
What I'd really like to have is a terminal that can attach to a remote GNU screen and display the screen-windows as local tabs.
So browsing graphical tabs is quicker for you then using "Ctrl+RightArrow" or "Ctrl+n" or some variation of one of those? Traversing my screen or tmux sessions is usually much faster than using a mouse.
Traversing is not the issue here, it's more about having an ad-hoc way to watch things side-by-side by dragging a tab to a window and vice versa, and about having a proper scrollback.
Yes, screen, tmux and vim have split window modes, but those are cumbersome to operate (and I'm saying that as a year-long ion3 user) and the scrollback issue has not been addressed by either up to this day.
Or, to put it more generally: Terminals are sadly stuck firmly in the 1970s. There has been near zero innovation beyond emulating them in tabbed windows and setting xterm titles. Heck, we're moving backwards. OSX ships with a terminal that doesn't even support 256 colors. ZModem is unheard of except in fairly exotic/old emulators such as Zoc. Support for "advanced" terminal features (double-size fonts, graphics mode) is rare.
I spend >8hrs/day inside a terminal. I would happily pay a 3 digit license fee for a modern terminal emulator that adds the features I mentioned and innovates beyond. There's infinite room for innovation by leveraging special ESC-sequences (server tells terminal what to do), drag & drop, integrating with tools like screen, ssh or even building new CLI tools that interface with the terminal in a smart way...
I want vim to tell my terminal to display NerdTree in a native side-car widget like TextMate. I want an "open" CLI-command that downloads the target-file from the remote server and displays it locally without me having to futz with scp. I want to drag & drop files onto the server that I'm currently ssh'd into. I want the term to maintain my entire session (including all tabs and remote connections) across reboots. And, yes, I'd like to have my remote screen windows line up neatly as native tabs.
>I want an "open" CLI-command that downloads the target-file from the remote server and displays it locally without me having to futz with scp. I want to drag & drop files onto the server that I'm currently ssh'd into.
You can get this by editing files over sshfs.
In general though, I find that sort of persistence to be somewhat unstable. I'd rather know that everything I have done is documented and backed up than just sitting in some sort of dump of memory.
Been there, it's a kludge and tends to not cope well with network disconnects. Also when sshfs flakes out then it has a habit of leaving you with 0-byte files.
Also note this doesn't fully address the problem.
I literally want to drag/drop into the current directory of whatever server I'm ssh'd into (possibly with multiple ssh-hops in between).
This has been possible in the 80's, it's called ZModem.
The server-side part is still in your favorite linux distribution (lrzsz). Sadly the client-side support has disappeared from almost all terminal emulators (Afaik only Zoc still supports it).
With Zoc you can just drop a file and it will send the ZModem init-string, which conveniently launches the 'rz' binary on the server. Likewise you can say 'sz file', Zoc will detect the init-string and open a download-dialog.
Forgotten technologies... not all of them were bad.
I've also been frustrated by these issues. I want to be able to edit a file with local typing speed (i.e., gvim on Windows), but then be able to hit a key and be in a terminal window on that server in that folder to perhaps do a manual grep or rebuild an index or whatever. I feel like we were closer in the 90s with innovative products like Slirp and Term and, yes, Zmodem (and Kermit).
I started trying to build out something like this based on vim's netrw stuff but it never really worked out. I'm not even sure if what I want is part of vim or if it's some nebulous other tool.
Sounds like you want Emacs' tramp. On your local emacs, open a file in the form "/user@remote-ssh-host:file" and it will grab the remote file and edit it locally. Crazily all the emacs version control commands and stuff like M-x compile and M-x grep all work in the remote context. Very cool stuff.
Obviously this requires that you use Emacs instead of Vim though. Don't be afraid though, the grass is pretty green over here :-).
In my experience, tramp was even more reliable than sshfs. Both need work before they are truly effective solutions.
Though the latency of my satellite connection outweighs the shortcomings of sshfs. The thing about tramp is that where sshfs hangs up directory listing and file loading, tramp regularly hangs up the editor. (And tramp should really turn off autosave by default.)
You can also use the "dirs" command (I think part of bash as well) that tells you the state of the stack. If you set the -v option, you can get the depth of different directories, and you can just do pushd +N to jump to the specific directory.
That's essentially what it does, but if you use the "autocd" option as well, you don't need to type "cd" - you can just use the name of a directory as a command. So, "autopushd" would ensure that these operations use the directory stack also.
I've also wondered to myself why there isn't a terminal program with a directory tree by the side so you could just click on the directory that you want to be in, instead of ls -cd-tab-blah-^H-tab-^M. It would also a have a list of favorite and most-recently-used directories.
Perhaps, but it'd be less of a context switch than remembering what directory I'm in and where it was that I wanted to go. It may be that I'm growing old and dull, but I'm better at clicking on things than remembering them.
Another built-in worth knowing about is CDPATH. I find that setting a sane CDPATH and bash-completion makes cd-ing anywhere I go regularly pretty trivial - just a few letters and a few TABs and I'm good to go.
I'm not sure I follow. There's nothing dangerous about cd-ing to a directory, though of course it could be dangerous to start work in 'foo', thinking it was 'bar'. Most people use a prompt, or the title bar of their shell to protect against that. But either way, I'm not sure how CDPATH makes that danger greater than any other trick that allows you to jump quickly to a directory using a bookmark, popd or the like.
Well, this was just the most graphic example, there are more subtle ways to create a mess. Directory names are far from unique, a misfiring 'cd tmp' or 'cd src' can easily lead to nasty surprises, even without 'rm' ever getting involved at all.
And you do know that CDPATH also affects shell scripts, right?
> Directory names are far from unique, a misfiring 'cd tmp' or 'cd src' can easily lead to nasty surprises, even without 'rm' ever getting involved at all.
I hear what you're saying, though I'm not really persuaded by this argument. When you 'cd' into a directory along your CDPATH, Bash will print out where you end up when you arrive. Here's an example of what I mean (easier to see than explain):
circe ~ ❯❯ cd bin
circe bin ❯❯ cd ithaca
circe ithaca [master•] ❯❯
The regular cd simply takes me where I asked. When I cd and use CDPATH (in the second case), I get told where I end up. Sure, there might be four or five different 'ithaca' folders on various machines and even on one machine, but I think that extra print-out really makes it unlikely that I will get confused.
> And you do know that CDPATH also affects shell scripts, right?
No, I'm embarrassed to say, I never thought of this. And this part does sound like a potential problem. When I write Bash scripts, I always use full paths, but I see where my having CDPATH set puts me at danger from other people's scripts. Technomancy gives a concrete example above. Although I think this is bad practice on their part (not to use full paths), I appreciate the warning.
No, it does not. But in today's world of layered environments (virtualenv, rvm) your bashrc may very well be sourced in places that you didn't anticipate. On top of that each linux distribution has its own way of screwing with the environment files in creative ways, as anyone can attest who has had to make a cronjob work across platforms...
However, your question suggests that you're probably one of the chosen few who could actually use this feature safely. My general advice against it was aimed at the 99% other people who think "Oh convenient!" without being fully aware of the implications.
The link I posted to suggests exporting CDPATH. I've always copied that, without really thinking about the effect on scripts. If you set (but don't export) CDPATH, it does not get passed along to scripts, as far as I can tell here.
So, no, Bash doesn't implicitly export the variable. (Thanks to everyone for helping me improve my dotfiles a little bit.)
Maybe it's just because I run a lot of the same commands and don't do a lot of development from the terminal, but I avoid cding at all usually and just type the full path. It svaes time over multiple sessions thanks to ctrl+r, and the commands in my history work no matter what dir I'm in.
I use the following scripts, both by Petar Marinov, they've saved me an enormous amount of keystrokes. One replaces CTRL-R history search, the other makes a much friendlier replacement for pushd and popd.
I have usually a few dirs that i go back and forth frequently when coding, and I simply set them to my env. I add the following line to ~/.bashrc
And 'cd $lib' will take me there. Very simple, and caters for most of my cd needs. Don't over-complicate things
I use "m1=`pwd`" and then "cd $m1" for example. No setup required, although admittedly slightly more typing and the need to quote directories with spaces in them (rare for Unix sysadmin tasks for which I'm using a shell in the first place).