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A plugin manager for zsh, inspired by oh-my-zsh and vundle.
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Antigen is a small set of functions that help you easily manage your shell (zsh) plugins, called bundles. The concept is pretty much the same as bundles in a typical vim+pathogen setup. Antigen is to zsh, what Vundle is to vim.

Please note that this is a very new project and can be considered beta at best. That said, I am using antigen full time now on my work machine. Also, please read the commit comments of the changesets when you pull a new version of antigen.

Show off

Enough talk. Let's fight! -- Po, Kung-fu Panda.

You're going to experience antigen right in your open shell. No .zshrc tweaking and reading the rest of this documentation. Kinda like an ice-cream sample, if you will.

Get and load antigen.

curl > antigen.zsh
source antigen.zsh

There. You now have all the antigen goodies. Let's try install some plugins. How about some color to start with. Get the syntax highlighting plugin by running

antigen-bundle zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting

Now let it do its thing and once its done and you're back at your prompt, try and type a command. See that? Colors!

So, you do git? ruby? git and ruby? There are lots of awesome plugins over at oh-my-zsh. Treat yourself to some.

antigen-bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh plugins/ruby
antigen-bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh plugins/git

There are lots of plugins out there in the wild and people are writing zsh utilities as small scripts all the time. Antigen is compatible with all of them. The plugins and scripts don't need any special handling to be compatible with antigen.

Another example, kennethreitz's autoenv. Just a bundle command away.

antigen-bundle kennethreitz/autoenv

And boom! you have all the autoenv goodness. Just remember how you used to do these before antigen, clone it, modify your bashrc to source it, load a new terminal, all just to test it out. Duh!

The side effect of this is that you can tell antigen to grab just about anything from anyone's dotfiles repo, as long as it is in a directory under any repo on github.

And themes? How would you like a fancy new prompt for yourself?

antigen-theme funky

No? Not your taste? There are many themes available to you, check out the oh-my-zsh's page on themes. (You can currently only install themes from robbyrussell's, i.e., the canonical oh-my-zsh repo).

Note: Many of those plugins and especially themes, assume you have the core library of oh-my-zsh loaded. So, if you want to experiment further, issue a


and continue until you're tired. At which point you can come back to this page ;)


So, now that you're here, I'll assume you are convinced and want antigen running your shell all the time. Sweet. Let's do it.

First, clone this repo, probably as a submodule if you have your dotfiles in a git repo,

git clone

The usage should be very familiar to you if you use Vundle. A typical .zshrc might look like this

source /path-to-antigen-clone/antigen.zsh

# Load the oh-my-zsh's library.

# Bundles from the default repo (robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh).
antigen-bundle git
antigen-bundle heroku
antigen-bundle pip
antigen-bundle lein
antigen-bundle command-not-found

# Syntax highlighting bundle.
antigen-bundle zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting

# Load the theme.
antigen-theme robbyrussell

# Tell antigen that you're done.

Open your zsh with this zshrc and you should see all the bundles you defined here, getting installed. Once its done, you are ready to roll. The complete syntax for the antigen-bundle command is discussed further down on this page.


If you use zsh and oh-my-zsh, you know that having many different plugins that are developed by many different authors in a single (sub)repo is not a very easy to maintain. There are some really fantastic plugins and utilities in oh-my-zsh, but having them all in a single repo doesn't really scale well. And I admire robbyrussell's efforts for reviewing and merging the gigantic number of pull requests the project gets. It needs a better way of plugin management.

This was discussed on a few issues, but it doesn't look like there was any progress made. So, I'm trying to start this off with antigen, hoping to better this situation. Please note that I'm by no means a zsh or any shell script expert (far from it).

Inspired by vundle, antigen can pull oh-my-zsh style plugins from various github repositories. You are not limited to use plugins from the oh-my-zsh repository only and you don't need to maintain your own fork and pull from upstream every now and then.

Antigen also lets you switch the prompt theme with one command, just like that

bundle-theme candy

and your prompt is changed, just for this session of course.


The following are the commands provided by antigen. Note that the - in the following commands is kind of optional. You can write antigen-bundle ... as antigen bundle and get away with it. For more details see the help on antigen command further down in this section.


This command tells antigen to install (if not already installed) and load the given plugin. The simplest usage follows the following syntax.

antigen-bundle <plugin-name>

This will install the plugins/<name> directory from robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh (can be changed by setting ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL).

However, the above is just syntax sugar for the extended syntax of the antigen-bundle command.

antigen-bundle [<url> [<loc>]]

where <url> is the repository url and it defaults to robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh repo (can be changed by setting ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL discussed further down). <loc> is the path under this repository which has the zsh plugin. This is typically the directory that contains a *.plugin.zsh file, but it could contain a completion file or just many *.zsh files to be sourced. <loc> defaults to /, which indicates the repository itself is a plugin.

An example invocation would be

# The following is the same as `antigen-bundle ant`. But for demonstration
# purposes, we use the extended syntax here.
antigen-bundle plugins/ant

This would install the ant plugin from robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh repo. Of course, github url's can be shortened.

antigen-bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh plugins/ant

And since this repo is the default, even that isn't necessary. But we can't specify the loc without giving the first argument.

For this and a few other reasons, antigen-bundle also supports a simple keyword argument syntax, using which we can rewrite the above as

antigen-bundle --loc=plugins/ant

Which picks up the default for the url argument, and uses the loc given to it.

Note that you can mix and match positional and keyword arguments. But you can't have positional arguments after keyword arguments.

antigen-bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh --loc=plugins/ant

And keyword arguments don't care about the order in which the arguments are specified. The following is perfectly valid.

antigen-bundle --loc=plugins/ant --url=robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh

You can also specify a local directory on your file system as a bundle. In this case, make sure the path you give is the absolute path (i.e., starts with a /). Relative paths are not supported. If the repo you gave is a local directory path, then it is not necessary that this path is a git repo. Please refer to the notes on --no-local-clone below.

In addition to the above discussed arguments, antigen-bundle also takes a btype keyword-only argument, that is used internally. You shouldn't be concerned with this argument, its only used internally and will probably go away in the future. It indicates whether the bundle is a theme or a simple plugin.

You can use this antigen-bundle command not just from your .zshrc, but also from your shell environment. This allows you to install plugins on the fly and try them out. Of course if you want a bundle to be available every time you open a shell, put it in your .zshrc.

Other keyword-only arguments accepted:

--branch={git-branch-name} — Specify the branch of the git repo to be used for this bundle (without the braces of course). The default is whatever branch the clone comes with, which is usually master. For example,

antigen-bundle github-user/repo --branch=develop

This will get the plugin as in the branch develop.

Note that if you specify two plugins to be loaded from the same git repo, but different branches, then two separate clones of this repo will be maintained. This is a small implementation detail and shouldn't influence you in any way.

--no-local-clone — This command can be useful if you are developing a plugin and already have a clone on your local file system. If this argument is not given, even if the given repo url is a local path, a clone is made in the $ADOTDIR/repos, and the plugin is loaded from that clone. But, if you give this argument, the plugin is sourced straight from the repo location, without creating a clone. For example,

antigen-bundle /absolute/path/to/the/plugin --no-local-clone

Note that if the repo url is not an absolute local path or a branch has been specified with the --branch option, this argument has no effect. That is, for this option to have any affect, the repo url must be an absolute local path and no --branch should be specified.

Also, if the local path given as the url is not a git repo, then this argument is forced as it doesn't makes sense to clone something that's not a git repo. This property can be used to load any utility scripts you have in your dotfiles repo. For example,

antigen-bundle $HOME/dotfiles/oh-my-zsh/custom


If you have a fair number of bundles, using the antigen-bundle command can look cumbersome. You can use the antigen-bundles command to bulk define bundles instead of individual calls to antigen-bundle.

Usage is pretty straightforward. Just pipe the bundle specifications, just as you would give to the antigen-bundle command, one per line, into the antigen-bundles command. The easiest way to do this, is using the heredoc syntax.

antigen-bundles <<EOF
# Guess what to install when running an unknown command.

# The heroku tool helper plugin.


This is equivalent to

antigen-bundle command-not-found
antigen-bundle heroku

Of course, as you can see, from the lines piped to antigen-bundles, empty lines and those starting with a # are ignored. The rest are passed to antigen-bundle without any quoting rules applied. They are actually eval-ed with the antigen-bundle command. See the source if you want to really understand how it works. Its a very small function.


This is something you might not want to put in your .zshrc. Instead, run it occasionally to update all your plugins. It doesn't take any arguments.


Please note that the updates that are downloaded are not immediately available. You have to open a new shell to be able to see the changes. This is a limitation by design since reloading all the plugins might have some nasty side effects that may not be immediately apparent. Let's just say it can make your shell act real quirky.

Please note: This command is not for updating antigen itself. Its for updating the bundles you are using with antigen.


Use this command to list out the currently loaded plugins. Keep in mind that this includes any bundles installed on-the-fly.

Takes no arguments. Gives out the repo url and the plugin's location under the repo.


Used to clean up the clones of repos which are not used by any plugins. It takes no arguments. When this is run, it lists out the repo-clones that are available but are not used by any plugin currently loaded.

This command, by default asks for confirmation before deleting the unused clones. If the --force argument is given, then this confirmation is not asked. It straight away deletes all the unused clones. This option makes this command usable in a non-interactive fashion.


This is a shortcut to

antigen-bundle --loc=lib

So, it basically installs the oh-my-zsh's library as a bundle. Please note that this assumes that the ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL is set to the oh-my-zsh repo or a fork of that repo. If you want to specify the url too, then you can't use the antigen-lib short cut. You have to do that directly with the antigen-bundle command.

This is present only for legacy reasons and might (or might not) be removed in the future.



in your .zshrc, before any antigen-bundle declarations. It takes no arguments.


Used for switching the prompt theme. Invoke it with the name of the theme you want to use.

antigen-theme fox

Currently, themes are pulled from robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh repo, but it will support getting themes from other repos as well in the future.

You can use this command to change your theme on the fly in your shell. Go on, try out a few themes in your shell before you set it in your .zshrc.


You have to add this command after defining all bundles you need, in your zshrc. The completions defined by your bundles will be loaded at this step.

It is possible to load completions as and when a bundle is specified with the bundle command, in which case this command would not be necessary. But loading the completions is a time-consuming process and your shell will start noticeably slow if you have a good number of bundle specifications.

However, if you're a zsh expert and can suggest a way so that this would not be necessary, I am very interested in discussing it. Please open up an issue with your details. Thanks.


This exists so that there can be some help right in the command line. Currently it doesn't provide much help other than redirecting you to the project page for documentation. It is intended to provide more meaning and sub-command specific help in the future.

I could use some help here as I'm not that good at writing documentation that looks good as output on the command line.


This is a parent command that mainly exists for convenience. The idea is the following two are the same.

antigen list


antigen help

Because of this, we can create aliases like

alias a=antigen
alias an=antigen

and run the antigen commands without making them look annoyingly long.

a bundle ruby
a theme candy
a list

And even...

an update


The following environment variables can be set to customize the behavior of antigen. Make sure you set them before source-ing antigen.zsh.

ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL — This is the default repository url that is used for bundle commands. The default value is robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh repo, but you can set this to the fork url of your own fork.

ADOTDIR — This directory is used to store all the repo clones, your bundles, themes, caches and everything else antigen requires to run smoothly. Defaults to $HOME/.antigen.

Note: ANTIGEN_REPO_CACHE & ANTIGEN_BUNDLE_DIR — These variables were used previously but are now removed. Please use ADOTDIR instead, as mentioned above.

Running the tests

All the tests are in the tests folder and are run using the cram test system. Once you have cram installed, you can run the tests as



make tests

If you are making a feature addition, I'd really appreciate if you can add a test for your feature. Even if you can add a test for an existing feature, that would be great as the tests are currently seriously lagging behind the full functionality of antigen.

Notes on writing plugins

If you are just going to write a single .sh file with the goodness you want to create, just forget about this and go do that. Antigen will work just find with such a plugin.

If you want to know how antigen loads the plugins, do continue.

Firstly, antigen looks for a *.plugin.zsh file in the plugin directory. If present, it will source only this script. Nothing else is sourced.

Otherwise, it looks for *.zsh files and if there are any, all of them are sourced. The order in which they are sourced is not currently defined. Please don't rely on this order. Nothing else is sourced after all the *.zsh scripts.

If no *.zsh files are present, it finally looks for any *.sh files and sources all of them. Again, the order in which they are sourced in not currently defined.

No matter which (or none) of the above happen to be sourced, this plugin directory is added to the zsh's function path ($fpath) so that any completions in it are loaded. One exception to this rule is that if this plugin is a prompt theme. In which case the theme script is just sourced and nothing else is done.


Helping out

Antigen is licensed with the MIT License. To contribute, just fork, make changes and send a pull request. If its a rather long/complicated change, please consider opening an issue first so we can discuss it out.

Feedback please

Any comments/suggestions/feedback welcome. Please join the discussion on the reddit page of this project. Also, follow me on twitter, @sharat87.

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