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Intro Alises

What are aliases?

Alises are alternative names or shortcuts to a command or a command with arguments.

When would you use an alias?

Say you do something regularly, it's a complex command and it takes time to type.

If you know what it does, and know it well, and do it often, then it's a good case to become and alias (i.e. shortened) to a different command. You can use ls ~/.bashrc to see if the file exists.

How do I use your aliases?

They are all stored in code blocks in their respective pages, copy all the contents of the code block and paste it into the correct rc file, exiting and re-opening terminal will now have the commands available or you can bring them into the current shell without restarting by sourcing them with source ~/.bashrc.

How would you use an alias?

You'd record an alias as a bash command in the ~/.bashrc ~/.localrc or whatever file you use based on your shell type


Problem Description

Let's take a common git workflow as an example. Say you've made changes, you want to prepare them for being committed, you want to commit them, and then you want to push them to a feature branch matching your branch name.

This is normally done with three steps:

  1. git add -A

  2. git commit -m "Add the thing"

  3. git push

Now, most people experiecne an error here because the target branch doesn't exist yet after the first push so they go back and fix git push to something like git push --set-upstream origin <branch>.

Example with Aliases

# Store the alises for future use
echo "alias gac='git add -A && git commit -m'" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "alias gp='git push origin HEAD'" >> ~/.bashrc

Now that they have been stored, we can quit terminal. Next time we start working and we open terminal or our shell, we've done some work on our software and we want to commit it, we would just use:

gac "Add the thing" && gp

Imagine that you're commiting hourly most days and consider how much time that saves your over years. Hopefully this explains the value of aliases.