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Keep it secret, keep it safe


Before you go any further... this is all specific to an OSX install; for my linux fam, I recommend checking out @cowboy's dotfiles repo, as it has mostly safe osx/linux alternatives and is also geared towards bash instead of zsh (my preferred shell).


Pre-install stuffs: You'll obviously need git installed; if you're using 10.9+, just hit up xcode-select --install, click 'Install' when the dialog pops up, disco.

Note: if the above doesn't work to get XCode CLI Tools installed, you can try the code I have in script/bootstrap:L35-59.

Now that the pre-reqs are out of the way, run this:

git clone ~/.dotfiles
cd ~/.dotfiles

This will symlink the appropriate files in .dotfiles to your home directory. Everything is configured and tweaked within ~/.dotfiles.

The main file you'll want to change right off the bat is zsh/zshrc.symlink, which sets up a few paths that'll be different on your particular machine.

dot is a simple script that installs some dependencies, sets sane OS X defaults, and so on. Tweak this script, and occasionally run dot from time to time to keep your environment fresh and up-to-date. You can find this script in bin/.


Everything's built around topic areas. If you're adding a new area to your forked dotfiles — say, "Java" — you can simply add a java directory and put files in there. Anything with an extension of .zsh will get automatically included into your shell. Anything with an extension of .symlink will get symlinked without extension into $HOME when you run script/bootstrap.

what's inside

A lot of stuff. Seriously, a lot of stuff. Check them out in the file browser above and see what components may mesh up with you. Fork it, remove what you don't use, and build on what you do use.


There's a few special files in the hierarchy.

  • bin/: Anything in bin/ will get added to your $PATH and be made available everywhere.
  • topic/*.zsh: Any files ending in .zsh get loaded into your environment.
  • topic/path.zsh: Any file named path.zsh is loaded first and is expected to setup $PATH or similar.
  • topic/completion.zsh: Any file named completion.zsh is loaded last and is expected to setup autocomplete.
  • topic/*.symlink: Any files ending in *.symlink get symlinked into your $HOME. This is so you can keep all of those versioned in your dotfiles but still keep those autoloaded files in your home directory. These get symlinked in when you run script/bootstrap.

.localrc and sensitive data

Keep it secret, keep it safe

Use ~/.localrc as your location for sensitive information. Optionally, you can let script/bootstrap handle the cloning of your private repo to ~/.dotfiles/private, which will execute an install script, assuming it's located at ~/.dotfiles/private/

For some submodule info, rather, a cheatsheet.


I also created a handy little command-line note taking app.

It is pretty basic app/script right now, but have ideas for a more robust, yet still simplistic in UX, feature set. Stay tuned for that.

additional reading

There are many great dotfiles repos to check out and in general get inspiration and code snippets from... Here's a few that I like to keep a record of.

.. I'll continually add more as I come across them.

References for various things:


Unfortunately, this is a neverending project it seems.. so as to help myself remember all the things, here's a basic list of what I haven't finished:

  • Finish filling out the brew-cask install list
  • Backup/restore KeyRemap4MacBook config
  • Get nodejs and certain npm installed as globals (grunt, yeoman, etc)
  • Automate the cloning of an arbitrary private repo and link the relevant files
  • verify all the things on a fresh install
  • figure out import/export of common/handy apps i always use
  • scour the yadr dotfiles repo for more ideas (careful of bloat though!)


I want this to work for everyone; that means when you clone it down it should work for you even though you may not have chruby installed, for example. That said, I do use this as my dotfiles, so there's a good chance I may break something if I forget to make a check for a dependency.

If you're brand-new to the project and run into any blockers, please open an issue and let me know what's broke so I can sure this thing up!


Big up to @holman for providing a solid starting point for having a mostly automated way of quickly getting a new system (OSX for now) install up and running with preferred environment tools and workflows.

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