5 Useful Bash Aliases for Mac OS X

As a developer, one of the things that can help you is to focus on being more productive by automating tasks that you do a lot. The following is a list of bash commands and aliases which will help you to be a bit faster.

1) Traversing up directories

How many times did you have to type something like cd ../../..? You could start from the user directory instead but that’s not always the fastest, especially with deeply nested directories.

The following will allow you to write .... instead.

alias ..='cd ..'
alias ...='cd ../..'
alias ....='cd ../../..'
alias .....='cd ../../../..'

2) Alias your most used directories

What are some of the directories you use the most on a daily basis? Create short and easy to remember aliases:

alias c="cd ~/code/christianvuerings.com"
alias p="cd ~/code/pinterest"
alias dl="cd ~/Downloads"

3) Fetch and rebase

If you’re using git, one of the things you’ll do a lot is to update your current local master branch with the upstream version.

alias gfr='git fetch upstream && git rebase upstream/master'

I personally like to combine this with our previous tip of aliasing your most used directories. It’ll change the current directory to pinterest and merges any remote updates.

alias cupdate="p && gfr"

If you’re using git a lot, check out this more extensive list of git aliases.

4) Running your test runner in watch mode

Running and writing tests is something you probably do on a regular basis. The following allows you to run

  • jw: start running all the tests in watch mode
  • jw PinSearch: start running all tests which contain PinSearch in their filename
alias jw='yarn run jest --watch'

It’s likely that you’ll have to update the command if you’re using npm instead of yarn or have a different command to run your tests.

5) Putting your computer into sleep mode

Whenever you leave your desk, make sure to put your computer into sleep mode by running afk.

alias afk='/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend'

Bonus: Top 10 commands you use the most

Some developers use git, others use mercurial, what are some of the commands you use the most? (source)

history |
 awk '{CMD[$2]++;count++;}END { for (a in CMD)print CMD[a] " " CMD[a]/count*100 "% " a;}' | \
 grep -v "./" |
 column -c3 -s " " -t |
 sort -nr |
 nl |
 head -n10

Output:

  1	17118  52.2927%     git
  2	2628   8.0281%      cd
  3	1785   5.45288%     yarn
  4	1673   5.11074%     arc
  5	1274   3.89186%     code
  6	656    2.00397%     pupdate
  7	621    1.89705%     npm
  8	556    1.69849%     node
  9	529    1.61601%     sshpt
 10 439    1.34107%     atom

This can help you to define what a good next alias/function would be.

Learn from the people that went before you

Feel free to take a peek at other developers’s dotfiles to see which kind of aliases they’ve created:


Christian Vuerings
Personal blog by Christian Vuerings
I love to share interesting ideas.