lean prompt (for zsh)

November 24, 2015


After having used prompt pure for about a year, I felt that a two-line prompt was not for me. Also not utilizing the right side of the terminal seemed a missed opportunity. Still there is much to like: the elapsed time of a process, the coloring of the prompt if the exit code of the process isn’t 0, git integration and the stay out of my way. So I took “pure”, mixed in my ideas of what a prompt should look like and came up with “lean” - a 1 line prompt that stays out of your face.

So lean is an evolution (i.e. complete rewrite) of pure, with the following changes:

  • Defaults to a very sparse setup, only showing information you need at the moment.
  • Never displays your username (assuming you know who you are).
  • When tmux is active it shows a yellow ’t’ (I disabled the tmux bar, so this is some visual indication that tmux is active).
  • Show remote host if logged in through SSH.
  • All in one line, most stuff in the right prompt, leaving the left prompt nice and clean.
  • Shows background jobs (in the left prompt).
  • Show (dirty) git repos.
  • Shortens path if needed (longer then 70% of your screen).

When lean starts, only 2 characters show on the screen ‘%’ on the left and ‘~’ on the right. All other info is omitted (like the user and system you are on), and shown only when needed.

The code can be found on github.com/miekg/lean.

Screencast. Note: for some reason the space between ‘%’ and the start of the command line disappeared there.

Zsh  Prompt