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Ben Brostoff

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23 Aug 2015
Automation Via Aliasing and Bash

I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort recently to automate more stuff. Working on a side project or open source project you haven’t touched in a while I’ve found can be annoying to get back into - first navigate to the directory, run a few tasks to set up the DB, install dependencies, pull from master, etc.

With that in mind, I’ve taken to some aggressive aliasing on a few side projects to get to the fun stuff more quickly. I thought I’d jot down a few interesting takeways from the experience.

All of the below assume you have a .bash_profile set up.

  • On your home setup, it’s worth having aliases to navigate to a project immediately.
  • For setup tasks, it’s tempting to chain together a bunch of terminal commands with &&, but bash functions I’ve found make for easier edits in the future and are more elegant as well.
  • For anything that involves sshing into another machine, it’s nice to alias:
  • Finally, I like having easy access to my .bash_profile , so it makes sense for me to alias the following:

I admit a reasonable knock against aliasing is that when you move over to another machine, you’re a fish out of water. However, I’d like to believe if I take a few minutes every month to review my .bash_profile , I can partially mitigate this risk.


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