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Cross-shell robbyrussell theme written in JavaScript


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Cross-shell robbyrussell theme written in JavaScript


I'm developing 🚀⭐️ spaceship-zsh-theme which is an extremely powerful and customizable prompt for ZSH. It supports a lot of environments and tools to make you enjoy using it. However, there are plenty issues I faced: zsh is hard, dependency management is difficult, testing is near to impossible and so on.

This project is just a proof of concept. Definitely, that's not the best implementation, nevertheless, it opens interesting possibilities:

  • high-level language — ZSH is nice, but not for programming. JavaScript or Python seems more comfortable for these cases.
  • single code base — Single source code for all shells. The core logic is written in a high-level language while the shell-specific code is located in special files called adapters.
  • cross-shell — different shells are too specific. Single code base on high-level language with unified interface gives us an ability to use it with any shell(fish, zsh, bash, sh, etc).
  • cross-platform — things like pkg allows us to package prompt into binary and use it wherever we want, even without installed language runtime.
  • testable — high-level language and its infrastructure make it possible to test prompt components with tools like Mocha, Jest or tape (unlike traditional prompts which are usually untested).
  • dependency managementNPM, RubyGems and PyPI store thousands of packages that could be used for special prompt's needs. It's also possible to install prompt itself with one of these package managers.
  • asynchronous checks — the more synchronous checks you do, the slower prompt becomes. Things like async/await or Promise.all() could perform environment checks concurrently, so we can achieve significant performance improvement.

Why JavaScript? Just because it's a high-level language which provides wide infrastructure with a good package manager, lots of packages and good community. It's quite fast and easy to make a simple working example.


npm install -g robbyrussell

Done. This command should source the corresponding adapter for your shell. Just reload your terminal.


If you don't have Node.js installed on your machine, you can download pre-built binaries with built-in Node.js version.

⬇️ Download binary ⬇️

Use them in your shell configuration with adapters.


# BASH-specific adapter
robbyrussell_bash_adapter() {
  /path/to/robbyrussell $robbyrussell_previous_exit_code 'bash'

# set prompt


# ZSH-specific adapter
robbyrussell_zsh_adapter() {
  /path/to/robbyrussell $robbyrussell_previous_exit_code 'zsh'

# set prompt


# FISH-specific adapter
function robbyrussell_fish_adapter -d "a robbyrussell theme adapter for fish"
  set robbyrussell_previous_exit_code "$status"
  /path/to/robbyrussell $robbyrussell_previous_exit_code 'fish'

# set prompt
function fish_prompt
  # fish splits command substitutions on newlines
  # need to temporarily reset IFS to empty
  #   @see:
  set -l IFS


Exposing the pormpt settings as environment variables is a known problem. This prompt reads a special configuration file from your home directory, which allows you to define more complex configs. A prompt automatically looks for ~/.prompt-config.js or ~/.prompt-config.json files. These files should export configuration object.

Important: A prompt needs to escape colors codes, otherwise it would behave incorrectly. This prompt includes patched chalk package with escape codes for current process.env.SHELL.

Default config looks like this:

// Patched for current shell chalk/chalk colors
const styles = require('robbyrussell/utils/colors');

module.exports = {
   * Check git status asynchronously
  async: false,
   * Prompt prefix and suffix
  prompt: {
    close: styles.bold.close + styles.reset.close
   * Status code
  status: {
    char: '➜',
   * Directory style
  dir: {
   * Git status styles
  git: {
    dirtyChar: '✗'


MIT © Denys Dovhan