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vim, zsh, git, homebrew, nvm, nginx, neovim - my whole world
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Latest commit 1f14af4 May 25, 2016 @nicknisi add dns-restart function


Welcome to my world. This is a collection of vim, tmux, and zsh configurations. Interested in a video walkthrough of the dotfiles? Check out my talk, vim + tmux.


Initial Setup and Installation

If on OSX, you will need to install the XCode CLI tools before continuing. To do so, open a terminal and type

xcode-select --install

Then, clone the dotfiles repository to your computer. This can be placed anywhere, and symbolic links will be created to reference it from your home directory.

git clone ~/.dotfiles
cd ~/.dotfiles
./ will start by initializing the submodules used by this repository. Then, it will install all symbolic links into your home directory. Every file with a .symlink extension will be symlinked to the home directory with a . in front of it. As an example, vimrc.symlink will be symlinked in the home directory as ~/.vimrc. Then, this script will create a ~/.vim-tmp directory in your home directory, as this is where vim is configured to place its temporary files. Additionally, all files in the $DOTFILES/config directory will be symlinked to the ~/.config/ directory for applications that follow the XDG base directory specification, such as neovim.

Next, the isntall script will perform a check to see if it is running on an OSX machine. If so, it will install Homebrew if it is not currently installed and will install the homebrew packages listed in Then, it will run and change some OSX configurations. This file is pretty well documented and so it is advised that you read through and comment out any changes you do not want. Next, the script will call install/ to install Node.js (stable) using nvm.

ZSH Setup

ZSH is configured in the zshrc.symlink file, which will be symlinked to the home directory. The following occurs in this file:

  • set the EDITOR to nvim
  • Load any ~/.terminfo setup
  • Set the CODE_DIR variable, pointing to the location where the code projects exist for exclusive autocompletion with the c command
  • Recursively search the $DOTFILES/zsh directory for files ending in .zsh and source them
  • source a ~/.localrc if it exists so that additional configurations can be made that won't be kept track of in this dotfiles repo. This is good for things like API keys, etc.
  • Add the ~/bin and $DOTFILES/bin directories to the path
  • Setup NVM, RVM, and hub if they exist
  • Set the base16 colorscheme to use for both the terminal (iTerm2) and vim/neovim by exporting the $THEME and $BACKGROUND environment variables
  • And more...


The prompt is meant to be simple while still providing a lot of information to the user, particularly about the status of the git project, if the PWD is a git project. This prompt sets precmd, PROMPT and RPROMPT.

The precmd shows the current working directory in it and the RPROMPT shows the git and suspended jobs info.

Prompt Git Info

The git info shown on the RPROMPT displays the current branch name, and whether it is clean or dirty.

Additionally, there are ⇣ and ⇡ arrows that indicate whether a commit has happened and needs to be pushed (⇡), and whether commits have happened on the remote branch that need to be pulled (⇣).

Suspended Jobs

The prompt will also display a ✱ character in the RPROMPT indicating that there is a suspended job that exists in the background. This is helpful in keeping track of putting vim in the background by pressing CTRL-Z.

Vim and Neovim Setup

Neovim is a fork and drop-in replacement for vim. in most cases, you would not notice a difference between the two, other than Neovim allows plugins to run asynchronously so that they do not freeze the editor, which is the main reason I have switched over to it. Vim and Neovim both use Vimscript and most plugins will work in both (all of the plugins I use do work in both Vim and Neovim). For this reason, they share the same configuration files in this setup. Neovim uses the XDG base directory specification which means it won't look for a .vimrc in your home directory. Instead, its configuration looks like the following:

Vim Neovim
Main Configuratin File ~/.vimrc ~/.config/nvim/init.vim
Configuration directory ~/.vim ~/.config/nvim


Vim is likely already installed on your system. If using a Mac, MacVim will be installed from Homebrew. Neovim will also be installed from Homebrew by default on a Mac. For other systems, you may need to install Neovim manually. See their web site for more information. will symlink the XDG configuration directory into your home directory and will then create symlinks for .vimrc and .vim over to the Neovim configuration so that Vim and Neovim will both be configured in the same way from the same files. The benefit of this configuration is that you only have to maintain a single vim configuration for both, so that if Neovim (which is still alpha software) has issues, you can very seamlessly transition back to vim with no big impact to your productivity.

Inside of .zshrc, the EDITOR shell variable is set to nvim, defaulting to Neovim for editor tasks, such as git commit messages. Additionally, I have aliased vim to nvim in aliases.zsh You can remove this if you would rather not alias the vim command to nvim.

vim and neovim should just work once the correct plugins are installed. To install the plugins, you will need to open Neovim in the following way:

nvim +PlugInstall


I am currently using Operator Mono as my default font, which does not include Powerline support. In addition to this, I do have nerd-fonts installed and configured to be used for non-ascii characters. If you would prefer not to do this, then simply remove the Plug 'ryanoasis/vim-devicons' plugin from vim/nvim. Then, I configure the fonts in this way in iTerm2:

Tmux Configuration

TODO: Documentation coming soon.

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