Configuration sharing with Dropbox, Part 3: Bash

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In this article, I will explain how you can easily share shell scripts between your workstations. Some of these scripts, such as convenient aliases or a git color prompt script, have to be run each time you start your shell; others only have to be accessible from the PATH. Both cases are covered by this trick.

But first, you should read Part 0, if you haven’t done so already.

One-time set-up

  • Create a folder called bash inside your ~/Dropbox/config.
  • Create two subfolders: scripts and session.
    scripts will contain the scripts that need to be on the PATH; session will contain the scripts that have to run each time you open up a terminal.
  • Create the file in ~/Dropbox/config/bash. (Indeed; it shouldn’t be in scripts or session!) Make it executable. Its contents should be as follows:
  # Add the following line to ~/.bashrc:
  # . /path/to/this/script/ script_folder
  # For example:
  # . ~/Dropbox/config/bash/ session
  # Don't forget the dot!

  for f in `dirname ${BASH_SOURCE[0]}`/$1/*; do
    . $f

This file will iterate over all the files in the given directory; in this case, ~/Dropbox/config/bash/session/*, and execute them.

  • Finally, create a file called in the ~/Dropbox/config/bash/session folder. Again, don’t forget to make it executable. It should contain the following one-liner:
export PATH=$PATH:\`dirname ${BASH_SOURCE[0]}\`/../scripts

… which is how ~/Dropbox/config/bash/scripts/ ends up on the PATH.

Per computer set-up

On each computer, you need to add the following line to the end of your ~/.bashrc to make it all work:

. ~/Dropbox/config/bash/ session

Don’t forget the dot! It won’t work without it. And that’s all!