zplug from a former oh-my-zsh user
Dec 14, 2016
3 minutes read

What is zplug?

zplug is plugin manager for zsh. If you’ve ever used vim-plug it’s pretty much the same idea and it’s made by the same guy. With it you can pull down various git repositories and use them as pluggable items into your own zsh distribution.

zplug is nice because it’s light, has an intuitive interface, and it’s extremely fast. As a an everyday zsh user, zplug has shrunk my zshrc and heavily reduced the amount of headaches I have when it comes to how fast my prompt shows up.

So how do you use it?

Installation

Installation of zplug is a simple git clone and can be done automatically through your zshrc like so:

# You can customize where you put it but it's generally recommended that you put in $HOME/.zplug
if [[ ! -d ~/.zplug ]];then
    git clone https://github.com/b4b4r07/zplug ~/.zplug
fi

Loading plugins

So loading of plugins goes through the actual zplug command. You can github or other source control sites (much ike vim-plug), load from popular frameworks (like oh-my-zsh, prezto, etc.), and you can even choose to load from your local.

Here’s a few examples from my zshrc:

# Async for zsh, used by pure
zplug "mafredri/zsh-async", from:github, defer:0
# Load completion library for those sweet [tab] squares
zplug "lib/completion", from:oh-my-zsh
# Syntax highlighting for commands, load last
zplug "zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting", from:github, defer:3
# Theme!
zplug "sindresorhus/pure", use:pure.zsh, from:github, as:theme

zplug load

You can even automate the installation of the plugins as well with:

# Actually install plugins, prompt user input
if ! zplug check --verbose; then
    printf "Install zplug plugins? [y/N]: "
    if read -q; then
        echo; zplug install
    fi
fi

Updating plugins

Updating is as easy as running:

$ zplug update

Why is it better than just using oh-my-zsh?

Well if you use your terminal everyday, and spawn hundreds of shell sessions, speed matters. I have not done a proper benchmark to see but being able to pick and choose specific things that I like from oh-my-zsh and only load those things seems to have greatly decreased my shell load time. Also knowing what goes into your shell makes it that much easier to debug problems when they arise.

zplug also automates most of things you needed to do manually, like downloading plugins from github, updating them, and needing to make sure they’re all in the right spots.

Conclusion

There’s a comparison of zplug to other zsh plugin managers located at the zplug wiki.

zplug is my daily driver going forward as far zsh plugin managers go. It’s the one that makes the most sense to me, it’s fast, and it is extremely extensible. Give it a shot if you’re a current oh-my-zsh user, it might just make you a zplug believer like me!


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