I would like to source my ~/.zshrc by running . with no arguments. So this:

$ .

should do this:

$ . ~/.zshrc

I would like the normal functionality of . to remain unchanged. The only difference should be when . is invoked with no arguments.

Is this possible?

I have tried a few different approaches. Here is one of them:

dot_zshrc_or_args() {
    if [[ $# == 0 ]]; then
        \. ~/.zshrc
        \. $filename $@
alias .=dot_zshrc_or_args

Here is an example showing why it does not work:

$ echo 'echo $#' > count_args.sh
$ delegate() { . ./count_args.sh }
$ delegate foo bar baz

The last command should echo 3, but it echoes 0 if the above alias for . has been defined.

The fundamental problem seems to be that . is treated specially by the shell, allowing the script that it invokes to have access to all local variables including $1, $2, and so on. So if I try to wrap . in another function, I will lose that behavior (as in the example above).

The two approaches I was thinking of were:

  1. use an alias instead of a function
  2. make it so that . is only aliased in the interactive shell, as opposed to when it is run from another function.

I can't get it to work, though, no matter what I try. Is it possible? (If not, what are the closest alternatives I could use? My end goal is to be able to quickly source my ~/.zshrc from a shell, preferably in an intuitive and easy-to-remember way.)


This can potentially be done by doing horrible things with accept-line:

function _accept-line() {
    if [[ $BUFFER == "." ]]; then
        BUFFER="source ~/.zshrc"
    zle .accept-line

zle -N accept-line _accept-line
  • This is beautiful, and works perfectly. I especially like (1) the fact that it actually puts ~/.zshrc into my command after I've pressed RET, so it looks less mysterious, and (2) how it neatly sidesteps any possible performance implications of overriding source or .. – Radon Rosborough Nov 30 '16 at 0:55

Write a function for . that calls the . builtin as appropriate. Also, == is incorrect for shell numeric comparisons (test is weird like that, and needs -eq or -ne).

function . {
    if [[ $# -eq 0 ]]; then
        builtin . ~/.zshrc
        builtin . "$@"
  • This breaks on the example I gave in the question. With . defined as you give, delegate foo bar baz echoes 1 instead of 3. – Radon Rosborough Nov 29 '16 at 23:47
  • 1
    Change delegate to pass the args, function delegate { . ./count_args.sh "$@" } or call the builtin directly function delegate { builtin . ... – thrig Nov 30 '16 at 0:11
  • Many third-party plugins rely on the argument-passing functionality of .. I cannot change all of them, so my solution to this problem will need to be one that does not change the behavior of . in any way. (In other words: I do not have control over the definition of delegate. If you want to be particular, delegate is actually the wd function defined by the wd plugin from oh-my-zsh.) – Radon Rosborough Nov 30 '16 at 0:36

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