I’d put this off for far too long, but I finally released my dotfiles on Github. Part of the reason it took me a while is I already had a syncing solution in Dropbox. I’m still using Dropbox to synchronize between my own machines, but I now have them published on Github as well. In addition, I wrote a handy script (with some inspiration from Steve Harman’s dotfile setup) that symlinks the files into the right spot on the target machine:

require 'rubygems'
require 'rake'
require 'colored'

desc "Create symlinks for each of the files.  Prompts before overwriting"
task :symlink do

def all_files

def ignore_files
  [ '.git', '.gitignore', '.', '..' ]

def create_symlinks
  dir = File.dirname(__FILE__)

  (all_files - ignore_files).each do |file|
    homedir = File.expand_path ENV['HOME']
    source_path = File.join dir, file
    target_path = File.join homedir, file
    if File.exists?(target_path)
      puts "File #{target_path} exists.  Overwrite it (y/n)?"
      if STDIN.gets.chomp.downcase == 'y'
        puts "#{"DELETING".red} #{target_path}"
        raise "This shouldn't happen, but if it does, I'm refusing to delete /" if target_path == "/"
        puts "#{"SKIPPING".blue} #{target_path}"

    puts "#{"[SYMLINK]".green} #{source_path} --> #{target_path.yellow}"
    FileUtils.ln_s(source_path, target_path)

  puts "Done."

With this script it will prompt before deleting files that already exist in your home folder. If you haven’t used the colored gem before, it’s super easy to use and can help make your script output more readable.

Vim plugins

Another roadblock to getting my entire .vim folder in a git repository is that I use pathogen to easily manage vim plugins. The way pathogen works is each plugin is cloned into .vim/bundle. I needed to add each of these files as a submodule to my new repository. Since I have over twenty plugins, I wrote a quick script to automate the process.

First I moved the current plugins into a different folder and started with blank slate:

    mv .vim/bundle old_bundle
    mkdir .vim/bundle

Then I wrote a script to loop over these folders, grab the git remote from each, and clone it as a submodule.


    set -e
    plugins=`ls old_bundle`
    for plugin in $plugins
      echo "Processing $plugin..."
      remote=`cd old_bundle/$plugin && git config remote.origin.url`

      git submodule add $remote .vim/bundle/$plugin
      git commit -m "Added $plugin"

Once that completed all of my plugins were cleanly added as submodules into the main repo.

Synchronizing on my machines

Now that I have a good solution for sharing the content, I still want changes I make to seamlessly make their way onto my other machines, so I’ve cloned this dotfile repo in ~/Dropbox/dotfiles. Since everything is symlinked there, thanks to the script above, it just works.

I just need to commit & push to share my changes with the world.

If you’re interested, you can check out my dotfiles here.