zshroadmap

ZSHROADMAP(1)               General Commands Manual              ZSHROADMAP(1)



NAME
       zshroadmap - informal introduction to the zsh manual The Zsh Manual,
       like the shell itself, is large and often complicated.  This section of
       the manual provides some pointers to areas of the shell that are likely
       to be of particular interest to new users, and indicates where in the
       rest of the manual the documentation is to be found.

WHEN THE SHELL STARTS
       When it starts, the shell reads commands from various files.  These can
       be created or edited to customize the shell.  See the section
       Startup/Shutdown Files in zsh(1).

       If no personal initialization files exist for the current user, a
       function is run to help you change some of the most common settings.
       It won't appear if your administrator has disabled the zsh/newuser
       module.  The function is designed to be self-explanatory.  You can run
       it by hand with `autoload -Uz zsh-newuser-install; zsh-newuser-install
       -f'.  See also the section User Configuration Functions in
       zshcontrib(1).

INTERACTIVE USE
       Interaction with the shell uses the builtin Zsh Line Editor, ZLE.  This
       is described in detail in zshzle(1).

       The first decision a user must make is whether to use the Emacs or Vi
       editing mode as the keys for editing are substantially different.
       Emacs editing mode is probably more natural for beginners and can be
       selected explicitly with the command bindkey -e.

       A history mechanism for retrieving previously typed lines (most simply
       with the Up or Down arrow keys) is available; note that, unlike other
       shells, zsh will not save these lines when the shell exits unless you
       set appropriate variables, and the number of history lines retained by
       default is quite small (30 lines).  See the description of the shell
       variables (referred to in the documentation as parameters) HISTFILE,
       HISTSIZE and SAVEHIST in zshparam(1).  Note that it's currently only
       possible to read and write files saving history when the shell is
       interactive, i.e. it does not work from scripts.

       The shell now supports the UTF-8 character set (and also others if
       supported by the operating system).  This is (mostly) handled
       transparently by the shell, but the degree of support in terminal
       emulators is variable.  There is some discussion of this in the shell
       FAQ, http://www.zsh.org/FAQ/.  Note in particular that for combining
       characters to be handled the option COMBINING_CHARS needs to be set.
       Because the shell is now more sensitive to the definition of the
       character set, note that if you are upgrading from an older version of
       the shell you should ensure that the appropriate variable, either LANG
       (to affect all aspects of the shell's operation) or LC_CTYPE (to affect
       only the handling of character sets) is set to an appropriate value.
       This is true even if you are using a single-byte character set
       including extensions of ASCII such as ISO-8859-1 or ISO-8859-15.  See
       the description of LC_CTYPE in zshparam(1).

   Completion
       Completion is a feature present in many shells. It allows the user to
       type only a part (usually the prefix) of a word and have the shell fill
       in the rest.  The completion system in zsh is programmable.  For
       example, the shell can be set to complete email addresses in arguments
       to the mail command from your ~/.abook/addressbook; usernames,
       hostnames, and even remote paths in arguments to scp, and so on.
       Anything that can be written in or glued together with zsh can be the
       source of what the line editor offers as possible completions.

       Zsh has two completion systems, an old, so called compctl completion
       (named after the builtin command that serves as its complete and only
       user interface), and a new one, referred to as compsys, organized as
       library of builtin and user-defined functions.  The two systems differ
       in their interface for specifying the completion behavior.  The new
       system is more customizable and is supplied with completions for many
       commonly used commands; it is therefore to be preferred.

       The completion system must be enabled explicitly when the shell starts.
       For more information see zshcompsys(1).

   Extending the line editor
       Apart from completion, the line editor is highly extensible by means of
       shell functions.  Some useful functions are provided with the shell;
       they provide facilities such as:

       insert-composed-char
              composing characters not found on the keyboard

       match-words-by-style
              configuring what the line editor considers a word when moving or
              deleting by word

       history-beginning-search-backward-end, etc.
              alternative ways of searching the shell history

       replace-string, replace-pattern
              functions for replacing strings or patterns globally in the
              command line

       edit-command-line
              edit the command line with an external editor.

       See the section `ZLE Functions' in zshcontrib(1) for descriptions of
       these.

OPTIONS
       The shell has a large number of options for changing its behaviour.
       These cover all aspects of the shell; browsing the full documentation
       is the only good way to become acquainted with the many possibilities.
       See zshoptions(1).

PATTERN MATCHING
       The shell has a rich set of patterns which are available for file
       matching (described in the documentation as `filename generation' and
       also known for historical reasons as `globbing') and for use when
       programming.  These are described in the section `Filename Generation'
       in zshexpn(1).

       Of particular interest are the following patterns that are not commonly
       supported by other systems of pattern matching:

       **     for matching over multiple directories

       |      for matching either of two alternatives

       ~, ^   the ability to exclude patterns from matching when the
              EXTENDED_GLOB option is set

       (...)  glob qualifiers, included in parentheses at the end of the
              pattern, which select files by type (such as directories) or
              attribute (such as size).

GENERAL COMMENTS ON SYNTAX
       Although the syntax of zsh is in ways similar to the Korn shell, and
       therefore more remotely to the original UNIX shell, the Bourne shell,
       its default behaviour does not entirely correspond to those shells.
       General shell syntax is introduced in the section `Shell Grammar' in
       zshmisc(1).

       One commonly encountered difference is that variables substituted onto
       the command line are not split into words.  See the description of the
       shell option SH_WORD_SPLIT in the section `Parameter Expansion' in
       zshexpn(1).  In zsh, you can either explicitly request the splitting
       (e.g. ${=foo}) or use an array when you want a variable to expand to
       more than one word.  See the section `Array Parameters' in zshparam(1).

PROGRAMMING
       The most convenient way of adding enhancements to the shell is
       typically by writing a shell function and arranging for it to be
       autoloaded.  Functions are described in the section `Functions' in
       zshmisc(1).  Users changing from the C shell and its relatives should
       notice that aliases are less used in zsh as they don't perform argument
       substitution, only simple text replacement.

       A few general functions, other than those for the line editor described
       above, are provided with the shell and are described in zshcontrib(1).
       Features include:

       promptinit
              a prompt theme system for changing prompts easily, see the
              section `Prompt Themes'


       zsh-mime-setup
              a MIME-handling system which dispatches commands according to
              the suffix of a file as done by graphical file managers

       zcalc  a calculator

       zargs  a version of xargs that makes the find command redundant

       zmv    a command for renaming files by means of shell patterns.



zsh 5.8                        February 14, 2020                 ZSHROADMAP(1)