Automate the automation

I am pragmatically lazy. As such, I love setting up command aliases to suit whatever task I’m currently working on. Prime candidates are “cd /long/path/to/a/commonly/used/directory”. These usually get single letter aliases, so I can flip between places in double-quick time. Emacs (or gnuclient) is never more than a “e” away. The old favourite “cd ..” gets shortened to “..”, and to complete the family I also have “…” and “….” to go up faster. I found myself using “find . -name” lots, so that is now “f.”. I can connect to commonly used remote hosts quickly courtesy of some one-letter aliases and ssh-agent.

All of this is fine and good, but I find that there’s a certain inertia that I have to overcome before I finally relent and add a new alias to my .bashrc file. I type a long command and think, “hmm, I should really add an alias for that”. But I often don’t get round to it.

The solution is, of course, to automate it (meta-automation!). At the point when I think “I should add an alias”, I can now just run my newly created “aliasadd” function which grabs the command I just typed and asks me for a name. It then adds it to my shell startup files and also to the currently running shell. I can now add a new alias in the time it used to take me to think “Gee, maybe I should add an alias for that last command”.

(NB: my .bashrc invokes a seperate .bash-aliases file (ie. by doing “. .bash-aliases”. This helps to organize my startup scripts. Therefore, the code below appends to a .bash-aliases file, whereas you might prefer it to target .bashrc)

2 replies on “Automate the automation”

I thought your default shell was ipython? I’m disgusted that you are still using legacy technologies like bash.

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