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Increased Developer Productivity with Tmux, Part 1: 5-minute overview



Tmux is a sharp tool, learn how to use it for your own gain.

Do you use a POSIX compliant operating system for your development work? Then you need to learn Tmux. Why? Because these Operating Systems live and breath the command line. Whether it is a service like elasticsearch or zeus, or a the thousands of command line tools like git or ag, or those indispensable time-saving shell scripts you are constantly finding yourself opening a new console to help accomplish your job. Tmux provides for this reality by establishing a way to manage the console that is superior to other approaches such as tabs on a GUI-based console application.

Here is a quick overview

  • After running the tmux command I get a basic window.
  • Not that interesting yet but let's keep going.
    This section is at the 50 second mark in the screencast.
  • Split into 2 panes.
  • 2 horizontal panes that is.
  • Make a new window and rename it.
  • This window ..
    will be dedicated for git commands.
  • I make another window with 4 panes called "external services".
  • In the bottom 2 panes, Memcache & Zeus are running.
    External services window is at the 1:38 mark in the screencast.
  • Going back to the 1st window, I kill off one of the panes.
  • Kill-pane confirmation.
  • Then in vim I open a spec file. Next, the window is vertically split and a spec is run in the right window pane.
  • Very useful to have the spec output in a persistent window so you can refer to it while working on the code.
    Running specs is at the 2:30 mark in the screencast.
  • You can copy Tmux window output to the system clipboard.
  • Copy from one instance of vim ..
    and paste to another ..
    Cutting and pasting is at the 2:35 mark.
  • Panes can be resized.
  • The left pane now has ~70% of the total screen.
    The right pane now has ~70% of the total screen. Good for reading test output.
    Pane resizing is at the 3:02 mark.
  • How about a 4th window loaded with the console-based browser, Elinks.
  • Elinks is great for quick searches on API documentation.

That concludes the 5 minute Tmux overview

Stay tuned for Part 2, which I will explain the Tmux configuration file. While you are waiting for the article check out the screencast that is already baked.

If you like this article and screencast go to the dedicated page for this series at http://minimul.com/teaches/tmux.

  • Pushed on 05/17/2014 by Christian