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prwd is a replacement for your shell's PS1, it provides a simple templating language with commands to customize your prompt.
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prwd - universal shell prompt

prwd is a replacement for your shell's PS1, it provides a simple templating language with commands to customize your prompt. prwd keeps your prompt consistent between shells, provides fast template commands to get your hostname, git or mercurial branch without an inordinate amount of slow shell scripting.


Add the following line in your shell's config file (e.g. .profile or .bashrc):

export PS1='`prwd`'

Template syntax

All the commands start with ${ and end with }, anything else is considered static. Commands within the brackets have flags similarly to standard UNIX tools. Here is an example template definition:

${date} ${hostname}:${branch}:${path -l 24}${uid}

Which would render as:

18:29:22 prometheus:master:/tmp$

Your prompt template can be defined in three different places:

  1. using a PRWD environment variable
  2. using the "template" keyword in your ~/.prwdrc file
  3. using the -t parameter to prwd

Template commands

Check the prwdrc man page for detailed command information. The following commands are available:

  • path
  • branch
  • date
  • hostname
  • uid
  • color
  • sep


If you use the path command in your prompt template, defining aliases will allow path to shorten your current path using your own defined keywords. For example, add the following to your prwdrc file:

alias *prwd /home/tamentis/projects/prwd

And navigating to /home/tamentis/projects/prwd/doc will allow prwd to reduce your current path to *prwd/doc. Another good example is that ~ is a default alias for prwd, you can create more of these ultra-short aliases if you want.


sudo make install

Hacking on prwd

  • Start from OpenBSD's style(9) man page.
  • Use parenthesis with your returns.
  • Use brackets even for one-line blocks or at least add a new line after.
  • Unless a value is only used as boolean, do not use '!', explicitely check for the value (e.g. !strcmp to test equality is not explicit).
  • No malloc/free, all the memory should be automatically allocated in prwd.
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