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ZSHROADMAP(1)                                                    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 explic-
       itly 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).

       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://zsh.dotsrc.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 opera-
       tion) 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  com-
       mands; it is therefore to be preferred.

       The  completion  system  must  be  enabled explicitly when the shell starts.  For more information see zshcomp-
       sys(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

       ~, ^   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  zsh-
       expn(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  per-
       form 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 4.3.11                     December 20, 2010                 ZSHROADMAP(1)