Since we’re going to be spending a lot of time in the command-line, let’s install a better terminal than the default one.

Are you looking for something like this?

Preview

iTerm2

Download and install iTerm2 (the newest version, even if it says “beta release”).

In Finder, drag and drop the iTerm Application file into the Applications folder.

You can now launch iTerm, through the Launchpad for instance.

Let’s just quickly change some preferences. In iTerm > Preferences…, under the tab General, uncheck Confirm closing multiple sessions and Confirm “Quit iTerm2 (Cmd+Q)” command under the section Closing.

In the tab Profiles, create a new one with the “+” icon, and rename it to your first name for example. Then, select Other Actions… > Set as Default. Finally, under the section Window, change the size to something better, like Columns: 125 and Rows: 35.

When done, hit the red “X” in the upper left (saving is automatic in OS X preference panes). Close the window and open a new one to see the size change.

Beautiful terminal

Throughout a normal day, you’ll see your prompt thousands of times. Customizing it with relevant information can drastically improve your workflow.

Let’s go ahead and start by changing the font. In iTerm > Preferences…, under the tab Profiles, section Text, change both fonts to Source Code Pro 13pt. This font isn’t included in the default Mac font libary, so you have to download and install it.

Now let’s add some color. I’m a big fan of the Dracula color scheme. I just find it pretty. There are so many alternatives such as solarized, you can choose whatever you want.

Download ZIP file from github repo. Unzip the archive. In it you will find the iterm folder, but I will just walk you through it here:

In iTerm2 Preferences, under Profiles and Colors, go to Load Presets… > Import…, find and open the two .itermcolors files we downloaded. Go back to Load Presets… and select Dracula to activate it. Voila!

Till now, we have finished the appearance of our iTerm2. Next step, we need to tweak a little bit our Unix user’s profile. This is done (on OS X and Linux), in the ~/.bash_profile text file (~ stands for the user’s home directory).

We’ll come back to the details of that later, but for now, just download the files .bash_profile, .bash_prompt, .aliases into your home directory:

$ cd ~
$ curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nicolashery/mac-dev-setup/master/.bash_profile
$ curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nicolashery/mac-dev-setup/master/.bash_prompt
$ curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nicolashery/mac-dev-setup/master/.aliases

With that, open a new terminal tab (Cmd+T) and see the change! Try the list commands: ls, ls -lh (aliased to ll), ls -lha (aliased to la).

At this point you can also change your computer’s name, which shows up in this terminal prompt. If you want to do so, go to System Preferences > Sharing. For example, I changed mine from “Renyuan’s MacBook Pro” to just “big-house”, so it shows up as “big-house” in the terminal.

Now we have a terminal we can work with!

(Thanks to Nicolas Hery for his setup document)