Using Aliases and Links

If you use the command line to help with your design or development workflow, you are probably someone who likes looking for ways to your workflow faster and more effective. If you are using the command line but still using the standard macOS Terminal app, definitely switch to something like iTerm2. But what if you could simply type git ac and then your message? Or what if you could run a single command to boot up everything you need to start your workday, or to start working on a project? When you use them, they feel similar and provide similar utility.

However, they each need to be set up slightly differently, so it took me a bit of digging to find out how to make them work. Hopefully you benefit from my digging!

How To Create Shortcut Commands in the Terminal for your Mac!

No more! Once you set up an alias, you can simply type a command like blog and be instantly in the right folder to work on your blog project.


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This command also uses a simple bash alias. With a bash function, you could type email to open your email, scrum to open your scrum board, or paper to open Dropbox Paper in your chosen browser. If you want to get fancy, you could even string a few websites together and even projects to open in desktop apps into a single command like work , and instantly start your workday with email, notes, and GitHub notifications in the browser, plus your latest project in your code editor or design tool. These commands are doing more than just finding items on your computer, so they require the bash function syntax.

So, when I started committing type design projects in Robofont, it was a bummer to go back to using separate commands git add. So, I missed the single-action approach, and I started looking for a shortcut, which led me to aliases in the first place.

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Navigating to a folder in the command line just requires cd , and then the folder path. To make this faster, open your.

To get your folder path, you can get to the folder in finder, right-click it, copy the name, paste it into the command line, then copy that. I happen to use VS Code as my main text editor, and with VS Code, you can open a project directly from the command line with the command code and the project path.

Why use aliases?

This too can be made into an alias. For example, when I want to blog, I can just run the command blog and open up my blog pages, because I have set up the following alias:. If you prefer to code in another text editor, there are also ways to set up similar commands for Atom and for Sublime. You forgot to include a period after the quotations in your second paragraph above. In fact, the bottom part of that paragraph reads as if it was written by a non-native English speaker. Berty, I think you may be lost perhaps you intended to fulfill your dream job of being a copy editor?

Question: why do we have to create an alias in the Finder? Seems to me that back in the day we could just do Control L in the active window. Or is my memory playing tricks? Alias files are really big compared to symlinks. Are there any benefits? You hinted at symbolic links, but they are much more powerful than aliases, if you use Terminal at all. Basic UNIX commands understand symbolic links, but not aliases.

A hard link is even closer to the OS, in that it is indistinguishable from a file name. It is, in fact, a second or third, or fourth name for the same file. I find them useful for networks imposed on a hierarchy. For example, if you classify certain document files according to some hierarchy of folders, you may find that a particular file qualifies to be in more than one branch of the hierarchy.

You must know the exact filename and file path of the file you want to open!

With hard links, you can delete the original, and the file remains by its other names. With other forms symbolic links, aliases , if you delete the original, all your links are now meaningless, because they point to a file that no longer exists.


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You can have a thousand of them in one folder, sorted any way you like: alphabetically, folders within folders by subject, etc. You can even alias the alias folder. An alias of a very full folder kept on the desktop is a great way to be able to wake from sleep quicker than if the original folder were kept on the desktop. The easy way is. If you want to get rid of it just drag the alias to the right. Doing the alias I end up with copies everywhere that are useless. Name required. Mail will not be published required.

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What is an alias, and how do I create one? » Files & Sharing » Mac » Tech Ease

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