How to use DDEV custom commands and other goodies to add zsh

August 13, 2019 3 min read

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Screenshot of a terminal window, with emphasis on “oh my zsh is now installed!”

DDEV is a powerful local development tool that many of you are fond of for its simplicity and extensibility. Recent versions of DDEV (v1.10+) add custom commands and loads of other goodies we’d like to show you how to use. In this screencast and tutorial, we’ll show you how to make use of DDEV custom commands, adding web server packages, and adding extras in .ddev/homeadditions to support your specific project needs.

When in doubt, update DDEV on your machine and run ddev config on a project before getting started with new features.

As an example, and since there are many folks who absolutely love zsh and Oh My Zsh (an alternative Unix shell and an accompanying framework), we’ll demonstrate these features by showing you how to add zsh and Oh My Zsh to a DDEV project. We’re going to do three things to demonstrate this:

  • Add the zsh Debian package into the web container with webimage_extra_packages
  • Add a custom command that works like ddev ssh, but it’s going to be ddev zsh
  • Add all the scaffolding for Oh My Zsh in the home directory for lovers of Oh My Zsh

Watch the video below and read the detailed instructions to configure your own project:

How to add zsh and Oh My Zsh to DDEV

  1. From the root of an existing project configured with DDEV: Add the zsh package to the web server container by adding webimage_extra_packages: ["zsh"] to the .ddev/config.yaml file (or run ddev config --webimage-extra-packages=zsh, which does the exact same thing). If you only want zsh in the web container, you can ddev restart and you’re done!

  2. To add a ddev zsh custom command to your project, place a file named “zsh” in .ddev/commands/web/zsh with the following contents and make it executable with chmod +x zsh:

    ## Description: ssh into web container using zsh
    ## Usage: zsh [flags] [args]
    ## Example: "ddev zsh"
    zsh $@

    Now you can run ddev zsh and be in your familiar zsh environment (if you did the ddev restart after adding the package in step 1.

  3. If zsh is all you want, copy your favorite .zshrc into .ddev/homeadditions for your project and zsh will be set up with your .zshrc every time you start the project. You’re done now.

  4. Now to add all the goodies that make Oh My Zsh work:

    1. If you already have a ~/.oh-my-zsh and ~/.zshrc, you can probably copy those into .ddev/homeadditions and they will be added when you run ddev start.
    2. Otherwise, create the .oh-my-zsh like this:
    3. cd .ddev/homeadditions
    4. curl -Lo
    5. ZSH=./.oh-my-zsh sh ./ --unattended
    6. cp ~/.zshrc . (This copies the .zshrc that will have mistakenly put in your home directory.
    7. Change the line near the top of the .ddev/homeadditions/.zshrc to export ZSH=~/.oh-my-zsh instead of what the oh-my-zsh installer generated.
  5. Now you can run ddev start and ddev zsh will have all the Oh My Zsh goodies.

To review, we used three advanced features of ddev:

  • Added an extra Debian package (zsh) with webimage_extra_packages
  • Added a custom command (zsh) in .ddev/commands/web by adding a simple script (docs)
  • Added extra stuff (oh-my-zsh and .zshrc) into .ddev/homeadditions that will be added to the home directory in the web container on every ddev start (docs).

Happy customizing! If you have questions, check out our support channels.