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Chris Arcand

Senior engineer at Software for Good; formerly Red Hat. Co-organizer of RubyMN, maintainer of, and occasional speaker. A Minnesotan who spends too much money on keyboards, ice hockey, and backpacking gear.

Minneapolis, MN

Sublime Text Settings and Dotfiles

There are tons of people who save Sublime Text configuration files in GitHub repositories, and there are tons of people who keep a collection of dotfiles. Maybe it's the difference between Linux and Mac users, but there are not a lot of people who have Sublime Text settings stored in their symlinked dotfiles. The distinction I make is this:

  • Most people that I've found with Sublime Text settings simply clone a 'sublime-text-settings' repository right over the top of the default directory.
  • Under a more Linuxy mindset, you'd have a repo of dotfiles which would contain your text editor settings and you'd create a symlink to have that program use those settings.

There are some exceptions, but the majority of dotfiles/Sublime Text collections that I've viewed either don't use Sublime Text or don't use dotfiles as they are usually organized. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's the distinction between old school Linux users with dotfiles refusing to leave vim and Mac users being unaware of the power and convenience of a widely-written-for Unix-like operating system and the use of a set of portable dotfiles. Whatever the reason, if you do use Sublime Text, be smart and use dotfiles as they're supposed to be used. I haven't found anyone who goes over it, so for anyone who needs a quick run through, here you go:

Setting up a dotfiles git repository with Sublime Text 2 settings (OSX)

First, a small aside. You need to install Sublime Package Control, a completely kick ass package manager for Sublime Text 2. Think of, Homebrew, for Sublime Text. You install it via the Sublime console.

  1. Hit ctrl+`to open the console   (That's a tilde)
  2. Run the following command:
    import urllib2,os; pf='Package Control.sublime-package'; ipp=sublime.installed_packages_path(); os.makedirs(ipp) if not os.path.exists(ipp) else None; urllib2.install_opener(urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.ProxyHandler())); open(os.path.join(ipp,pf),'wb').write(urllib2.urlopen(''+pf.replace(' ','%20')).read()); print('Please restart Sublime Text to finish installation')
  3. Restart Sublime Text

Great. Now that you have that installed, all of the Sublime Text 2 user settings are stored in the Packages/User directory of the Sublime data folder. Make a new directory called .dotfiles, copy your existing User directory to .dotfiles, remove the Packages/User directory and replace it with a symlink to .dotfiles:

  • mkdir -p ~/.dotfiles/sublime/
  • cp -r ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/User ~/.dotfiles/sublime
  • rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/User
  • ln -s ~/.dotfiles/sublime/User/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/User

You're done. Listing your file details in the Packages directory should yield something like this:

Sublime Symlink

If you're using GitHub, you could now create a repository and initialize the .dotfiles directory.

  • <Create a GitHub repo>
  • cd ~/.dotfiles
  • git init
  • <Add files, create a commit>
  • git remote add origin<username>/<repo>.git
  • git push origin master

Not hard.


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