Posted on 13th, November 2013

My Bash Aliases

I love working in terminal, I’m either SSH’d into a server, working with git or making file/directory changes. To be more efficent at these things though, I’ve created some lovely aliases that I live by.

Let’s dive.

Creating aliases

For those of you who may not be that familiar with the command line, I’ll show you how to create an alias. Run the following in your terminal window:

alias ping="ping -c 5"

This alias allows us to limit how many ping requests we send to just 5, usage: ping www.google.co.uk, and the response:

PING www.google.co.uk (74.125.195.94): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 74.125.195.94: icmp_seq=0 ttl=49 time=57.533 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.195.94: icmp_seq=1 ttl=49 time=61.224 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.195.94: icmp_seq=2 ttl=49 time=79.374 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.195.94: icmp_seq=3 ttl=49 time=60.143 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.195.94: icmp_seq=4 ttl=49 time=62.271 ms

--- www.google.co.uk ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 57.533/64.109/79.374/7.794 ms

This alias is only a temporary, once you have closed your terminal that session ends, and the alias is lost. To save aliases we must add them to our profile file.

The chances are, you’re using a bash terminal, however if like me you use zsh then the instructions below are actually a little different.

To save your awesome aliases, you need to create a .bash_profile (or a .zprofile for zsh users) in your home directory.

vi ~/.bash_profile

Then in this file you can place the alias we created earlier. Save the file then type:

. ~/.bash_profile  #or . ~/.zprofile for zsh users

Smashing stuff! We’ve created an alias, and saved it for future use too!

My Aliases

Now that you’re a pro at making aliases, let me show you mine (and you can show me yours in the comments!). I’ve broken each section of profile file into sections, and I’ll explain the logic behind each.

1) PATH
PATH=$PATH:/Applications/MAMP/Library/bin
PATH=$PATH:/Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php5.4.4/bin
export PATH

I use MAMP Pro religiously, so the above updates my PATH (which is a global variable that is used to look up the locations of commands you run on the command line), by updating my PATH to include these two folders whenever I use any mysql or php command it uses MAMP’s php or mysql instead of the built in php/mysql in Mac OSX. Which is awesomely useful for updating/backing up my databases and executing php on the command line.

2) Git Aliases

I love git, so having a few shorthands can help speed my up, these are a few of my git aliases (others are stored in my gitconfig).

alias gs='git status'
alias gc='git commit'
alias gl='git log'
alias ga='git add'
alias gpush='git push'
alias gpull='git pull'
3) Misc

The first alias here is the one I used it my example to limit the number of pings sent. The second is a quick command to “reload” my terminal session when I update my profile file. Next up, open any url from the command line in Chrome usage: url http://www.google.co.uk, and finally when navigating directories I always use ls to view inside the directory, and I have added the flag -h which changes file sizes into human readable sizes (so rather showing 1024 it would show 1kb)

alias ping="ping -c 5"
alias reload=". ~/.zprofile"
alias url="open -a /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app"
alias ls="ls -h"
4) Error logs!

When I’m working on an application, I’ll refer to my php_error.log A LOT. So I created a handy alias to help me here. This simply shows the last 5 lines of the error log file

alias phplog="tail -n 5 /Applications/MAMP/logs/php_error.log"
What are yours?

I’ve shown you mine, now you gotta show me yours. Post them below, or mention me on twitter @ashsmithco.

Ash Smith - Freelance Magento Developer

I'm Ash, a Magento 2 Developer @ Play Sports Network, keen cyclist and aspiring triathlete. With over eight years Magento experience!

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