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A command-line tool to install a link-farm to your dotfiles

Project description

The Basic Idea

What dotx does; what it's for

The problem

You're a software developer with tons of dotfiles: .bashrc, .vimrc, .tmux.conf, .inputrc, and things living in .config just to name a few. You have to install these on every system you work on and keep them up-to-date as they change. Without some special setup, there's no one source of truth, no easy deploy, no version control. The obvious answer is to keep them in a git repo, but making your home directory be that repo is no good. And maybe you don't even want them to live together. Your bash files should be in a group, your vim files in a group, etc.

A solution

The solution is obvious: keep them in a git repo, divided up into packages (or multiple git repos if you prefer), and install links in your home directory (or the target directory) that point into your git repo, at the source of truth files.

The solution is so obvious in fact that of course there is already a perl tool called GNU stow that helps you do exactly that. GNU stow has a feature that you can ask it to rename files that look like this: "dot-bashrc" to this ".bashrc". This is incredibly helpful if, for instance, you want to edit your dotfiles on your iPad and your editor of choice can't see files or directories that start with a ".". Keeping your files in this form means no invisible files in your source repo so you can edit anywhere with anything.

Unfortunately, GNU stow has a bug that its renaming feature doesn't work on directories. And it's also a very general purpose tool. It's made for installing a link-farm to any kind of package from anywhere to anywhere.

dotx is a simple tool with a simple goal: manage a link-farm of possibly renamed links to dotfiles. Yes, you can use it for other purposes, but it's tuned for its goal. It does the renaming task if you want it, but if your source files are named simply .bashrc it works just as well.

The user interface

Usage: dotx [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  Manage a link farm: (un)install groups of links from "source packages".

  --debug / --no-debug
  --verbose / --quiet
  --log FILE                Where to write the log (defaults to stderr)
  --target DIRECTORY        Where to install (defaults to $HOME)
  --dry-run / --no-dry-run  Just echo; don't actually (un)install.
  -i, --ignore TEXT         a pattern to exclude from installation
  --help                    Show this message and exit.

  install    install [source-package...]
  uninstall  uninstall [source-package...]

So if you had a source package (a directory containing files) named "bash" containing "dot-bashrc" and "dot-bash_profile" you could install links to those two files (named ".bashrc" and ".bash_profile") into your ${HOME} directory by being in the parent of the source package and saying:

+$ pwd

+$ ls -1

+$ tree -aL 1 bash
├── dot-bash_profile
├── dot-bash_tools.bin
├── dot-bash_topics.d
└── dot-bashrc

+$ dotx --ignore=README.* install bash

+$ ls -al ~
lrwxr--r--    37 wolf 19 Jul 11:01 .bash_profile -> builds/dotfiles/bash/dot-bash_profile
lrwxr--r--    39 wolf 19 Jul 11:01 .bash_tools.bin -> builds/dotfiles/bash/dot-bash_tools.bin/
lrwxr--r--    38 wolf 19 Jul 11:01 .bash_topics.d -> builds/dotfiles/bash/dot-bash_topics.d/
lrwxr--r--    31 wolf 19 Jul 11:01 .bashrc -> builds/dotfiles/bash/dot-bashrc

If you've got some files in your source package that don't need to be linked, you can use the --ignore option (even multiple times), like so:

dotx --ignore=README.* --ignore=.mypy_cache install bash tmux vim

You typically don't need the --ignore options during uninstall, which looks almost just like install:

dotx uninstall bash vim tmux

How it works

What's next

  • ignore files that collect together patterns, a la .gitignore and the like
  • ...

Project details

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