Customize Zsh Pt.3 - Git Info

(Spoiler: No need to install Oh My Zsh framework)


Yes, Oh My Zsh is awesome! That’s the first thing I installed when I switched from Bash to Zsh and I used it for a few years.

Past that time, I realized that in my daily use, the only features I was taking advantage was:

  • Autocompletion and history-based autocompletion using the arrow keys.

  • The fancy multi-line and colorful user prompt showing the working directory, and the switching color after the fail/success of the previous command execution.

  • The git repository info at the user prompt.

  • The z command, provided by the ZSH-z plugin.

I couldn’t help myself but thinking that the Oh My Zsh framework was much more than I needed. I decided to remove Oh My Zsh and reset Zsh from scratch, so I could configure and install only the features I needed.

This is a four-part post series explaining how to set up those features on a fresh new Zsh installation:

Customize Zsh Pt.1 - Autocompletion

Customize Zsh Pt.2 - User Prompt

Customize Zsh Pt.3 - Git Info 👈

Customize Zsh Pt.4 - ZSH-z Plugin

Git Prompt Integration

Git is shipped by default with a shell prompt customization script called that is compatible with Zsh.

The script provides the command __git_ps1 that can be called with arguments returning information about the repository and its status. Calling the script from inside the PS1 using command-substitution, enables real-time repository status in your Zsh prompt.

How to Set Up

  • Create a user custom Zsh plugins directory, and a directory for the plugin:

    mkdir -p ~/.zsh/plugins/git

  • Download the script and save it to the plugins directory created:

    From Zsh:

    curl -o ~/.zsh/plugins/git/

    From the browser:

    (Remember to save into ~/.zsh/plugins/git directory)

  • Load it in Zsh and enable some configurations by adding the following code into the .zshrc file:

    source ~/.zsh/plugins/git/
    # git prompt options

    (To learn more about the options please check the comments inside file, line 36 to 106.)

    Attention: The # PLUGINS section inside the .zshrc file must be placed BEFORE the # USER PROMPT section to have the __git_ps1 command loaded and available to call from inside the PS1.

  • Call the __git_ps1 command using command-susbsitution inside PS1:

    Place following snippet just before the second newline character in the PS1 built in the last post:

    % %F{magenta}$(__git_ps1 "  %s")%f

    PS1 before:

    PS1='$NL%B%F{cyan}%3~%f%b$NL%B%(?.%F{green}.%F{red})%(!.#.>)%f%b '

    PS1 after:

    PS1='$NL%B%F{cyan}%3~%f%b% %F{magenta}$(__git_ps1 "  %s")%f$NL%B%(?.%F{green}.%F{red})%(!.#.>)%f%b '
  • Source the .zshrc file again, in the Zsh shell type:

    source ~/.zshrc

And the user prompt is now aware of git repostories!


Your Zsh shell is becoming a powerful tool!

Part 4 explores how to install the ZSH-z plugin.


Customize Zsh Pt.4 - ZSH-z Plugin


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