Photo by Jasper Boer on Unsplash
Knowing your way around the terminal can make you much more productive as a programmer. As well as using essential tools for development such as Git and NPM/Yarn, there are many more commands that can speed up your workflow, especially when you can start making scripts to automate frequent or time-consuming tasks. This year I decided to make a concious effort to get more proficient at using the command line, which means I’ve been spending a lot more time in my terminal.
I took a look around in the wild for different terminals that I would be able to customise to my liking. Mainly I wanted to have a nice looking color theme and fonts, especially for programming.
I first stumbled across a terminal called Alacritty which I thought was cool since it’s a GPU-accelerated terminal editor. It touts that it’s the fastest terminal emulator in existence.
I used Alacritty for a few months, and while it sacrifices a lot of features that other terminals have, when combined with something like Tmux, you still get nice window/tab management to run multiple terminals at the same time. The thing that got me though was that I couldn’t get italic fonts to render properly, and I really wanted to use a font style like Wes Bos, especially since all my programming is done in the terminal now too.
What font ligatures look like in Fira Code
And also supports tiling multiple terminal windows side by side in different layouts without needing to use Tmux.
Getting started with Kitty was pretty easy if you’re using Ubuntu, just follow these steps: (If you’re not on Ubuntu, Kitty is cross-platform too so you should be able to find the equivalent installation method for your operating system online.)
- Open your current terminal app and type the the following command to download the installer
curl -L https://sw.kovidgoyal.net/kitty/installer.sh | sh /dev/stdin
This will install the latest version of Kitty into the
Now, to integrate with your desktop, so the app shows up in your list of apps do following:
ln -s ~/.local/kitty.app/bin/kitty ~/.local/bin/
cp ~/.local/kitty.app/share/applications/kitty.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
Done. You should now see kitty in your apps.
One thing that was real important for me was installing a nice font that would be nice to look at all day while I was programming.
Kitty makes it really easy to customize your font, and the font management
is super powerful. You can select individual fonts for regular, bold, italic and
bold italic. Simply create a new file in
~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf and add
the following lines along with any font you like. You can see a list of all your
installed fonts by opening Font Manager.
font_family Operator Mono Book bold_font Operator Mono Medium italic_font Operator Mono Book Italic bold_italic_font Operator Mono Medium Italic
Operator Mono is a nice looking font, it’s the one Wes Bos uses - but he paid $200 for it and I wasn’t about to fork out that much money for a font. I found a font called Victor Mono that looks somewhat similar with the semi-connected cursive italics, and programming symbol ligatures (which Kitty supports).
An example of Victor Mono font
You can get it by following these steps:
1. [Download](https://rubjo.github.io/victor-mono/VictorMonoAll.zip) the font 2. Unpack the ZIP 3. Install the font by adding into the Font Manager application 4. Update your Kitty `kitty.config` file
kitty.config file looks like this:
font_family Victor Mono Light bold_font Victor Mono Bold italic_font Victor Mono Italic bold_italic_font Victor Mono Bold Italic adjust_column_width 120%
While writing this blog post I honestly wondered why I even switched terminals, was it just so I could pretend I was cool with a fancy new terminal? The terminal that ships with Ubuntu is pretty great too, but I think even just having support for ligatures and window management features makes it worth while for me.
I’ve only been using Kitty for a few days but it’s working out pretty great so far!