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A set of vim, zsh, git, and tmux configuration files.

Home Page:

License: Other

Shell 61.35% Vim Script 38.65%

dotfiles's Introduction

thoughtbot dotfiles



Set zsh as your login shell:

chsh -s $(which zsh)


Clone onto your laptop:

git clone [email protected]:thoughtbot/dotfiles.git ~/dotfiles

(Or, fork and keep your fork updated).

Install rcm:

brew install rcm

Install the dotfiles:

env RCRC=$HOME/dotfiles/rcrc rcup

After the initial installation, you can run rcup without the one-time variable RCRC being set (rcup will symlink the repo's rcrc to ~/.rcrc for future runs of rcup). See example.

This command will create symlinks for config files in your home directory. Setting the RCRC environment variable tells rcup to use standard configuration options:

  • Exclude the, and LICENSE files, which are part of the dotfiles repository but do not need to be symlinked in.
  • Give precedence to personal overrides which by default are placed in ~/dotfiles-local
  • Please configure the rcrc file if you'd like to make personal overrides in a different directory


From time to time you should pull down any updates to these dotfiles, and run


to link any new files and install new vim plugins. Note You must run rcup after pulling to ensure that all files in plugins are properly installed, but you can safely run rcup multiple times so update early and update often!

Make your own customizations

Create a directory for your personal customizations:

mkdir ~/dotfiles-local

Put your customizations in ~/dotfiles-local appended with .local:

  • ~/dotfiles-local/aliases.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/git_template.local/*
  • ~/dotfiles-local/gitconfig.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/psqlrc.local (we supply a blank .psqlrc.local to prevent psql from throwing an error, but you should overwrite the file with your own copy)
  • ~/dotfiles-local/tmux.conf.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.bundles.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/*

For example, your ~/dotfiles-local/aliases.local might look like this:

# Productivity
alias todo='$EDITOR ~/.todo'

Your ~/dotfiles-local/gitconfig.local might look like this:

  l = log --pretty=colored
  colored = format:%Cred%h%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)%an%Creset
  name = Dan Croak
  email = [email protected]

Your ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.local might look like this:

" Color scheme
colorscheme github
highlight NonText guibg=#060606
highlight Folded  guibg=#0A0A0A guifg=#9090D0

If you don't wish to install a vim plugin from the default set of vim plugins in .vimrc.bundles, you can ignore the plugin by calling it out with UnPlug in your ~/.vimrc.bundles.local.

" Don't install vim-scripts/tComment
UnPlug 'tComment'

UnPlug can be used to install your own fork of a plugin or to install a shared plugin with different custom options.

" Only load vim-coffee-script if a Coffeescript buffer is created
UnPlug 'vim-coffee-script'
Plug 'kchmck/vim-coffee-script', { 'for': 'coffee' }

" Use a personal fork of vim-run-interactive
UnPlug 'vim-run-interactive'
Plug '$HOME/plugins/vim-run-interactive'

To extend your git hooks, create executable scripts in ~/dotfiles-local/git_template.local/hooks/* files.

Your ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local might look like this:

# load pyenv if available
if which pyenv &>/dev/null ; then
  eval "$(pyenv init -)"

Your ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.bundles.local might look like this:

Plug 'Lokaltog/vim-powerline'
Plug 'stephenmckinney/vim-solarized-powerline'

zsh Configurations

Additional zsh configuration can go under the ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs directory. This has two special subdirectories: pre for files that must be loaded first, and post for files that must be loaded last.

For example, ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/pre/virtualenv makes use of various shell features which may be affected by your settings, so load it first:

# Load the virtualenv wrapper
. /usr/local/bin/

Setting a key binding can happen in ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/keys:

# Grep anywhere with ^G
bindkey -s '^G' ' | grep '

Some changes, like chpwd, must happen in ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/post/chpwd:

# Show the entries in a directory whenever you cd in
function chpwd {

This directory is handy for combining dotfiles from multiple teams; one team can add the virtualenv file, another keys, and a third chpwd.

The ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local is loaded after ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs.

vim Configurations

Similarly to the zsh configuration directory as described above, vim automatically loads all files in the ~/dotfiles-local/vim/plugin directory. This does not have the same pre or post subdirectory support that our zshrc has.

This is an example ~/dotfiles-local/vim/plugin/c.vim. It is loaded every time vim starts, regardless of the file name:

# Indent C programs according to BSD style(9)
set cinoptions=:0,t0,+4,(4
autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.[ch] setlocal sw=0 ts=8 noet

What's in it?

vim configuration:

  • fzf for fuzzy file/buffer/tag finding.
  • Rails.vim for enhanced navigation of Rails file structure via gf and :A (alternate), :Rextract partials, :Rinvert migrations, etc.
  • Run many kinds of tests from vim
  • Set <leader> to a single space.
  • Switch between the last two files with space-space.
  • Syntax highlighting for Markdown, HTML, JavaScript, Ruby, Go, Elixir, more.
  • Use Ag instead of Grep when available.
  • Map <leader>ct to re-index ctags.
  • Use vim-mkdir for automatically creating non-existing directories before writing the buffer.
  • Use vim-plug to manage plugins.

tmux configuration:

  • Improve color resolution.
  • Remove administrative debris (session name, hostname, time) in status bar.
  • Set prefix to Ctrl+s
  • Soften status bar color from harsh green to light gray.

git configuration:

  • Adds a create-branch alias to create feature branches.
  • Adds a delete-branch alias to delete feature branches.
  • Adds a merge-branch alias to merge feature branches into master.
  • Adds an up alias to fetch and rebase origin/master into the feature branch. Use git up -i for interactive rebases.
  • Adds post-{checkout,commit,merge} hooks to re-index your ctags.
  • Adds pre-commit and prepare-commit-msg stubs that delegate to your local config.
  • Adds trust-bin alias to append a project's bin/ directory to $PATH.

Ruby configuration:

  • Add trusted binstubs to the PATH.
  • Load the ASDF version manager.

Shell aliases and scripts:

  • b for bundle.
  • g with no arguments is git status and with arguments acts like git.
  • migrate for bin/rails db:migrate db:rollback && bin/rails db:migrate db:test:prepare.
  • mcd to make a directory and change into it.
  • replace foo bar **/*.rb to find and replace within a given list of files.
  • tat to attach to tmux session named the same as the current directory.
  • v for $VISUAL.


Thank you, contributors! Also, thank you to Corey Haines, Gary Bernhardt, and others for sharing your dotfiles and other shell scripts from which we derived inspiration for items in this project.


dotfiles is copyright © 2009-2018 thoughtbot. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

About thoughtbot


dotfiles is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

We love open source software! See our other projects. We are available for hire.

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