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Huam Benvenutti
Huam Benvenutti

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Using ZSH without OMZ

Everybody loves Zsh. And most, if not every tutorial teaches to use Oh my Zsh (OMZ) to manage its plugins.

But the truth is, Zsh does not need a plugin manager. OMZ makes my terminal really slow, it takes a whole minute to load sometimes. Waiting that much time to type a command makes my life miserable.

So, what's the alternative?

We can manually tell zsh to load our plugins.

It is as simple as just adding this line at ~/.zshrc:

source path/to/your/custom/plugin

IT IS DONE!

I'll, however, give you a full guide to add a theme and plugins.

Adding spaceship theme to Zsh... and some plugins

We are going to install the following plugins into Zsh:

Step 1: Back-up

First we need to make a copy of our current .zshrc.

~ cp .zshrc .zshrc_backup

Done!

Step 2: Creating a directory for our zsh files

I chose .zsh for the directory name, you can name it however you'd like.

~ mkdir -p .zsh/plugins .zsh/themes
~ touch .zsh/.zshrc

I like to save my .zshrc file inside a .zsh directory and then link it to ~, but you may do as you please.

Now we add this line to our new ~/.zsh/.zshrc

### ZSH HOME
export ZSH=$HOME/.zsh

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Step 3: History

OMZ sets your history file automatically, but we need to create it ourselves.

If you are migrating from OMZ:
~ mv .zsh_history .zsh/

If you are making everything from scratch:
~ touch .zsh/.zsh_history

Now we open our ~/.zsh/.zshrc and add the following lines:


### ZSH HOME
export ZSH=$HOME/.zsh

### ---- history config -------------------------------------
export HISTFILE=$ZSH/.zsh_history

# How many commands zsh will load to memory.
export HISTSIZE=10000

# How maney commands history will save on file.
export SAVEHIST=10000

# History won't save duplicates.
setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS

# History won't show duplicates on search.
setopt HIST_FIND_NO_DUPS
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Step 4: PATH

This is the most important step, because if you mess up you will break your shell.

My shell is different then yours, so you have to copy it from your old .zshrc or the .zshrc_backup we have created.

It looks like this:
export PATH=$HOME/bin:/usr/local/bin:/snap/bin:/opt/bin:$PATH

yours might be slightly different.

Add it to the new .zshrc file.

Your file will be like this:


### PATH - DONT COPY MY PATH - COPY YOUR OWN
export PATH=$HOME/bin:/usr/local/bin:/snap/bin:/opt/bin:$PATH

### ZSH HOME
export ZSH=$HOME/.zsh

### ---- history config -------------------------------------
export HISTFILE=$ZSH/.zsh_history

# How many commands zsh will load to memory.
export HISTSIZE=10000

# How many commands history will save on file.
export SAVEHIST=10000

# History won't save duplicates.
setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS

# History won't show duplicates on search.
setopt HIST_FIND_NO_DUPS
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Step 5: Spaceship

We are going to clone the theme from github.

First we get inside our themes folder:
~ cd .zsh/themes

Then we clone the theme:
git clone git@github.com:spaceship-prompt/spaceship-prompt.git

Now we just tell zsh to use our new theme.
source $ZSH/themes/spaceship-prompt/spaceship.zsh-theme

You can configure the theme the way you want. Just go to the Github repository and read the instructions

These are my configurations:

SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ORDER=(
  user          # Username section
  dir           # Current directory section
  host          # Hostname section
  git           # Git section (git_branch + git_status)
  hg            # Mercurial section (hg_branch  + hg_status)
  exec_time     # Execution time
  line_sep      # Line break
  vi_mode       # Vi-mode indicator
  jobs          # Background jobs indicator
  exit_code     # Exit code section
  char          # Prompt character
)
SPACESHIP_USER_SHOW=always
SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ADD_NEWLINE=false
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SYMBOL="❯"
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SUFFIX=" "
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.zshrc:

### PATH - DONT COPY MY PATH - COPY YOUR OWN
export PATH=$HOME/bin:/usr/local/bin:/snap/bin:/opt/bin:$PATH

### ZSH HOME
export ZSH=$HOME/.zsh

### ---- history config -------------------------------------
export HISTFILE=$ZSH/.zsh_history

# How many commands zsh will load to memory.
export HISTSIZE=10000

# How many commands history will save on file.
export SAVEHIST=10000

# History won't save duplicates.
setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS

# History won't show duplicates on search.
setopt HIST_FIND_NO_DUPS

### ---- PLUGINS & THEMES -----------------------------------
source $ZSH/themes/spaceship-prompt/spaceship.zsh-theme

### --- Spaceship Config ------------------------------------

SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ORDER=(
  user          # Username section
  dir           # Current directory section
  host          # Hostname section
  git           # Git section (git_branch + git_status)
  hg            # Mercurial section (hg_branch  + hg_status)
  exec_time     # Execution time
  line_sep      # Line break
  vi_mode       # Vi-mode indicator
  jobs          # Background jobs indicator
  exit_code     # Exit code section
  char          # Prompt character
)
SPACESHIP_USER_SHOW=always
SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ADD_NEWLINE=false
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SYMBOL="❯"
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SUFFIX=" "
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Step 6: Plugins:

Same as the theme, we clone the plugins from github.

Get inside plugins directory:
~ cd .zsh/plugins

Clone the plugins:
~/.zsh/plugins: git clone git@github.com:zdharma-zmirror/fast-syntax-highlighting.git

~/.zsh/plugins: git clone git@github.com:zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions.git

~/.zsh/plugins: git clone git@github.com:zsh-users/zsh-completions.git

Now we just source them inside .zshrc

Fast-Syntax-Highlighting:
source $ZSH/plugins/fast-syntax-highlighting/fast-syntax-highlighting.plugin.zsh

ZSH-AutoSuggestions:
source $ZSH/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions-master/zsh-autosuggestions.zsh

ZSH Completions:
This is different, but not too complicated.

Add this line to .zshrc:
fpath=($ZSH/plugins/zsh-completions/src $fpath)

The official instructtions say we might need to execute this command:
rm -f ~/.zcompdump; compinit

I did not need to execute it.

All right, we have done it!

Our .zshrc file ends like this:

### PATH - DONT COPY MY PATH - COPY YOUR OWN
export PATH=$HOME/bin:/usr/local/bin:/snap/bin:/opt/bin:$PATH

### ZSH HOME
export ZSH=$HOME/.zsh

### ---- history config -------------------------------------
export HISTFILE=$ZSH/.zsh_history

# How many commands zsh will load to memory.
export HISTSIZE=10000

# How many commands history will save on file.
export SAVEHIST=10000

# History won't save duplicates.
setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS

# History won't show duplicates on search.
setopt HIST_FIND_NO_DUPS

### ---- PLUGINS & THEMES -----------------------------------
source $ZSH/themes/spaceship-prompt/spaceship.zsh-theme
source $ZSH/plugins/fast-syntax-highlighting/fast-syntax-highlighting.plugin.zsh
source $ZSH/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions-master/zsh-autosuggestions.zsh
fpath=($ZSH/plugins/zsh-completions/src $fpath)

### --- Spaceship Config ------------------------------------

SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ORDER=(
  user          # Username section
  dir           # Current directory section
  host          # Hostname section
  git           # Git section (git_branch + git_status)
  hg            # Mercurial section (hg_branch  + hg_status)
  exec_time     # Execution time
  line_sep      # Line break
  vi_mode       # Vi-mode indicator
  jobs          # Background jobs indicator
  exit_code     # Exit code section
  char          # Prompt character
)
SPACESHIP_USER_SHOW=always
SPACESHIP_PROMPT_ADD_NEWLINE=false
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SYMBOL="❯"
SPACESHIP_CHAR_SUFFIX=" "
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Step 7: Change the old .zshrc to the new.

First we exclude the old one (keep the backup):
~ rm .zshrc

Then link the new one to home:
~ ln -s -T .zsh/.zshrc .zshrc

Finally we source the new .zshrc:
~ source .zshrc

Final Thoughts:

I have created this tutorial some time ago, in portuguese.

Some plugins might have changed.

Hopefully you understand the method and are now able to configure your own plugins and themes.

Please read the instructions on the repositories before installing any plugins.

If you break your shell, just copy your .zshrc_backup and rename it to .zshrc.

Discussion (1)

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Salvydas Lukosius

Nice post! You may want to try out:
z-shell.pages.dev