A fast zsh plugin manager
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Latest commit cc558a8 Nov 9, 2016 @powder powder committed with Correct spelling mistake in README (#36)
- Changed choirs to chores.
- Choir - noun - an organized group of singers.
- Chore - noun - a routine task.


Build Status

Once a zsh user realizes that oh-my-zsh and antigen actually is bloatware, they will rejoice in antigen-hs. Here's a quote from one content user.

Great work on antigen-hs, you just saved me more than a second each time I split a tmux pane. Probably a month or two in some longer timespan. Never thought about how much time oh-my-zsh took to run its stuff.


A replacement for antigen which has a low overhead when starting up the shell. I created this plugin because I realized that antigen were the main cause of slow zsh startup times. After the switch, I went from a loading time of 1.00 seconds to less than 0.10 seconds (wall clock).

The performance improvement is achieved by generating a shell script consisting of commands to source your plugin scripts. The script contains full absolute paths of your plugins scripts. In antigen, the paths are calculated every time a new shell is opened.


Since this plugin is not entirely written in zsh (unlike antigen), it has a few more installation steps. In addition to this README, check out this diff to my dotfiles repository where I replace antigen with antigen-hs.

Haskell and packages

Since this plugin is written in Haskell, you have to download it:

  • installation through cabal:

    $ sudo apt-get install ghc cabal-install

    And if you won't use cabal sandbox:

      $ cabal update
      $ cabal install base text directory filepath process
  • installation through stack:

    Follow Stack installation guide.

Clone and source

This plugin assumes that you put it in ~/.zsh/antigen-hs/:

git clone https://github.com/Tarrasch/antigen-hs.git ~/.zsh/antigen-hs/

Create plugins file

touch ~/.zsh/MyAntigen.hs
$EDITOR ~/.zsh/MyAntigen.hs

And paste this example content

{-# LANGUAGE OverloadedStrings #-}
module MyAntigen where

import Antigen (
                -- Rudimentary imports
                AntigenConfig (..)
              , defaultConfig
              , bundle
              , antigen
                -- If you want to source a bit trickier plugins
              , ZshPlugin (..)
              , antigenSourcingStrategy
              , filePathsSourcingStrategy

bundles =
  [ bundle "Tarrasch/zsh-functional"
  , bundle "Tarrasch/zsh-bd"
  , bundle "zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting"
  , (bundle "zsh-users/zsh-history-substring-search") { sourcingStrategy = antigenSourcingStrategy }

  -- If you use a plugin that doesn't have a *.plugin.zsh file. You can set a
  -- more liberal sourcing strategy.
  -- , (bundle "some/stupid-plugin") { sourcingStrategy = antigenSourcingStrategy }

  -- If you use a plugin that has sub-plugins. You can specify that as well
  -- NOTE: If you want to use oh-my-zsh for real (please don't), you still need
  -- to set the $ZSH env var manually.
  -- , (bundle "robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh")
  --    { sourcingLocations = [ "plugins/wd"
  --                          , "plugins/colorize"] }

  -- Sourcing a list of files
  -- , (bundle "alfredodeza/zsh-plugins")
  --    { sourcingStrategy = filePathsSourcingStrategy
  --                          [ "vi/zle_vi_visual.zsh"
  --                          , "pytest/pytest.plugin.zsh"
  --                          ] }

  -- Alternatively, this way will give you the same result
  -- , (bundle "alfredodeza/zsh-plugins")
  --    { sourcingStrategy = antigenSourcingStrategy
  --    , sourcingLocations = [ "vi"
  --                          , "pytest"
  --                          ] }

  -- vvv    Add your plugins here    vvv

config = defaultConfig { plugins = bundles }

main :: IO ()
main = antigen config

Now edit this file accordingly by adding your own plugins. Then you're done! You can get some inspiration from the author's ~/.zsh/MyAntigen.hs.

Finally, source it from you zshrc:

$ echo 'source ~/.zsh/antigen-hs/init.zsh' | tee -a ~/.zshrc | env zsh

And let withard to help you setup and recompile your configuration:

Didn't find file ~/.antigen-hs/antigen-hs.zsh
Try to setup? [Y/n] Yes
Use sandbox for haskell dependencies? [Y/n] Yes
Stack executable found. Use it for sandbox? [Y/n] Yes


Each time you update MyAntigen.hs you have to run antigen-hs-setup


The original antigen plugin does way more than it should (just look at its bloated command list). This plugin tries to be minimal, if you are enough experienced with computers to use a zsh plugin manager, you can delete and manage the repositories in ~/.antigen-hs/repos manually yourself!


The following variables alter the behavior of antigen-hs, and must be set before sourcing init.zsh:

ANTIGEN_HS_HOME # This is only set automatically, and is set to the location
                # of the antigen-hs repository (which by default is
                # $HOME/.zsh/antigen-hs)
ANTIGEN_HS_OUT  # Output directory for cloned repositories and generated
                # scripts, defaults to $HOME/.antigen-hs.
ANTIGEN_HS_MY   # Your configuration file, defaults to
                # $ANTIGEN_HS_HOME/../MyAntigen.hs


Is Prezto or oh-my-zsh supported in some way? No, if you load them they will be treated like any other plugin. Remember that those two basically are just bundles of plugins, I recommend against using them because one should load the individual plugins through a plugin manager like antigen or antigen-hs. If there's anything inside those plugins that you want, just create a seperate repository for it like I did.

Why do I get No *.plugin.zsh file error? Because all zsh plugins should have that file. I want to enforce it so that people start following this convention. The easiest way is to just fork the plugin you want and/or make them change it If you're interested in some discussion about this, take a look at https://github.com/Tarrasch/antigen-hs/issues/3 and https://github.com/zsh-users/antigen/issues/23.

What is the relationship of antigen-hs with antigen? antigen-hs can achieve 100% of antigen if the user is just willing to spend some time doing things right (like not using plugin bundles like oh-my-zsh). In reward they don't need to use software that is bloated. To be fair, many (including my good github friend @sharat87) might want to say that antigen is more featureful/convenient, not bloated. I'll let you choose side yourself. :)

What about the antigen commands like theme and others? I do not found them useful or stable so I rather not have them. I rather rely on my own zsh fu when it comes to chores like updating the repositories (nuking the ~/.antigen-hs folder) than relying on some shaky commands of antigen.

Can I only source GitHub repositories? At the moment yes, patches are very welcome! :)

Where are some more plugins? awesome-zsh-plugins is a list of zsh plugins that you may find helpful.

Do it use sandbox for haskell dependencies? Yes, it support installation by stack or in cabal sandbox as an option.

Why not write it in pure zsh? Trust me, it is a horrible language.

Why Haskell? I love it.