Nima Hejazi

3 minute read

After adopting the minimalistic yet awesome Neovim as my new all-purpose text editor, I happened upon a new (and truly awesome!) shell, designed for heavy interaction with GitHub. After a few hours of playing around with this new tool, I am confident that using this new shell, playfully titled gitsome (think, “get some,” or maybe that’s just me reading in between the lines too much?), really does improve productivity tremendously. Of course nothing can take the place of Bash for general use (principally due to how ubiquitous Bash appears to be), but gitsome, and the underlying shell on which it is based (Xonsh), provides a look at what a modern shell environment ought to look like…

The Xonsh shell (pun obviously intended), which claims to be a “Python-ish, BASHwards-looking shell language,” includes features which place it at a key position to unite two of the most used heavily-used languages in current use (at least in scientific computing). For anyone that spends most of there time at a terminal-like interface (whether software engineer, web developer, or, in my case, statistician), two key tools are Bash and Python – Bash because of its omnipresence, across various operating systems on both local and remote machines; and Python for its ease of syntax, utility as a so-called “superglue language”, and advanced support tools for scientific computing (the wildly popular modules Numpy and scikit-learn come to mind). Providing support for Bash and Python simultaneously makes Xonsh amazingly flexible, so it’s easy to imagine that having a foundation like Xonsh gives gitsome quite an advantage over other shell environments – I mean, when firing up gitsome gives you access to support for Bash, Python, and Git/GitHub, what more could you really ask for in a shell?

Gitsome provides a powerful and automatic shell interface with autocompletion for common Git commands (including specialized additions for GitHub), while relying on Xonsh to provide support for both Bash and Pythonic commands. This means that using gitsome inherently provides full access to a whole suite of tools, many of which are the cornerstones of the toolbox of a computational scientist. The look and feel of gitsome can be fully controlled using a combination of the bashrc and xonshrc config files (and, unsurprisingly, modifying a xonshrc is very simple, in keeping with its Pythonic origins). This level of integration means that gitsome will work mostly like your personal Bash setup (that you know and love) out of the box, with any further additions you’d like to make being easily mediated through the fully configurable xonshrc. And, as if all of this additional convenient functionality were not enough, gitsome has a really sleek and shiny look to it…look, just check out all of the nice visuals on the gitsome GitHub page!

Anyway, I think that pretty much concludes what I had to say about gitsome – in short, an awesome tool that really encapsulates what a modern shell environment should look like. There are still a few more tools I want to write about, namely the Atom editor and the Xonsh shell mentioned earlier – so, until next time, cheers.

last updated: 12 May 2016

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