NerdCred++; How to Customize your Bash Prompt

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B304


The terminal is a powerful tool on any developer’s belt. The command line interface provides extensive functionality via simple entry of commands. In this workshop we will customize the development experience by adding personal ⭐︎flair⭐︎ and making the most of limited screen real estate. Customizing the prompt provides additional information and functionality with the bonus of flair. Participants will be able to take pride in custom craftsmanship with the result.


Link to our slide deck
Additional resources

In an all-text interface, colors are an optimal way of providing visual hints to parse information, in addition to the ability to add personalization to the bash prompt. This workshop is targeted toward intermediate level software developers with a basic understanding of the terminal that want to become exposed to advanced customization of the bash prompt.

A customized bash prompt shows off a developer’s creativity, personality, and poses a different type of problem solving in its creation. Custom prompts can often be a topic of conversation after code reviews and demos that can engage others the opportunity to show off their bash prompt customizations. Our goal is to empower others to not be bashful and show off their prompts!

The following topics will be in an interactive step by step workshop.
At the end of the session, everyone will have the opportunity to show off their new prompts.

  • PS1 environment variable
  • Escape Sequences
  • Colorization
  • Variables
  • Advanced Techniques to Improve Your Git and SVN Workflows

The prerequisites of this workshop are:

  • A laptop with bash installed (note: Cygwin on Windows)
  • Some familiarity with basic UNIX/Linux/OS X terminal (e.g. shell commands like man, cd, and ls).
  • A text editor (such as TextEdit, vim, emacs, or Sublime).


bash, colors, customization, terminal, github, git, svn, hacks, nerdcred

Speaking experience

We've spoken in front of local meetup groups in San Francisco and at ThoughtWorks gatherings.