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A set of vim, zsh, git, and tmux configuration files.
VimL Shell Ruby
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thoughtbot dotfiles


Set zsh as your login shell:

chsh -s $(which zsh)


Clone onto your laptop:

git clone git://

(Or, fork and keep your fork updated).

Install rcm:

brew tap thoughtbot/formulae
brew install rcm

Install the dotfiles:

env RCRC=$HOME/dotfiles/rcrc rcup

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

You can safely run rcup multiple times to update:


Make your own customizations

Put your customizations in dotfiles appended with .local:

  • ~/.aliases.local
  • ~/.git_template.local/*
  • ~/.gitconfig.local
  • ~/.gvimrc.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)
  • ~/.tmux.conf.local
  • ~/.vimrc.local
  • ~/.vimrc.bundles.local
  • ~/.zshenv.local
  • ~/.zshrc.local
  • ~/.zsh/configs/*

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

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

Your ~/.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 =

Your ~/.zshenv.local might look like this:

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

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

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

# recommended by brew doctor
export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:$PATH"

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

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

zsh Configurations

Additional zsh configuration can go under the ~/.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, ~/.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 ~/.zsh/configs/keys:

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

Some changes, like chpwd, must happen in ~/.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 ~/.zshrc.local is loaded after ~/.zsh/configs.

vim Configurations

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

This is an example ~/.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:

  • Ctrl-P 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 RSpec specs from vim.
  • Set <leader> to a single space.
  • Switch between the last two files with space-space.
  • Syntax highlighting for CoffeeScript, Textile, Cucumber, Haml, Markdown, and HTML.
  • Use Ag instead of Grep when available.
  • Use Exuberant Ctags for tab completion.
  • Use GitHub color scheme.
  • Use vim-mkdir for automatically creating non-existing directories before writing the buffer.
  • Use Vundle to manage plugins.

tmux configuration:

  • Improve color resolution.
  • Remove administrative debris (session name, hostname, time) in status bar.
  • Set prefix to Ctrl+a (like GNU screen).
  • 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.

Ruby configuration:

  • Add trusted binstubs to the PATH.
  • Load rbenv into the shell, adding shims onto our PATH.

Shell aliases and scripts:

  • b for bundle.
  • g with no arguments is git status and with arguments acts like git.
  • git-churn to show churn for the files changed in the branch.
  • m for rake db:migrate && rake db:rollback && rake db:migrate && rake 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.
  • rk for rake.
  • 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 maintained by thoughtbot, inc The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

Dotfiles is © 2009-2014 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

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