dayDreams ++

Shelby, the Shell Prompt

December 26, 2019


Shelby is a bash and zsh shell prompt with more focus on improving the terminal productivity while not compromising the speed and size.


I use the terminal. I use it a LOT. Mostly editing,running scripts and servers. I use zsh because I ❤️ oh-my-zsh. I used to use Spaceship Prompt and it felt like quite slow to me. Then I flipped to Starship Prompt by the awesome @matchai.

I really fell in love with Starship. It’s fast, it’s built with Rust were too big to be for me to fall in ❤️. The only drawback was that it showed a lot of info. A lot. I didn’t want to customize it much because I was lazy(obviously) and writing another TOML file was meh.

Then on this fine evening(Dec 2nd) before going to sleep, during to the Study Leaves before my Uni Exams, I thought of writing a shell prompt in Go. I wanted it be fast, to only show the needed info(virtualenvs,SSH and git), and has a small size. The small package size maybe because I use a Macbook Air with 128gigs of storage and not wasting data for downloading the stuff. I’ve seen Go and Rust programs get photo finishes at speed benchmarks and I thought, why not learn Go on the go and write this Stuff????

This was also the time I found out that Study Leaves increases the productivity and improves out of the box thinking.

Then I wanted a name for it. I didn’t want it to be a ship anymore but more personally and technically relatable. So I named it Shelby because Shell+feminine name (because ships are mostly given feminine names🤪) and my childhood caretaker’s name was Silby😁.


I started a bit on it like setting up the repo both local and remote and went to sleep. Since being a total noob to Go(I started learning a few days ago), I searched for any other implementations of the same. I stumbled upon Powerline Go by @justjanne and Mimir by @talal. I found both the code hard to follow but grasped their logic in time. Shelby still use mimir’s code in some functions😅.

So, forward a few weeks after my 3rd paper(Discrete Mathematics) I got to spend a bit more time into it and on 22nd Decemeber 2019, I released the Alpha of Shelby. It still has bugs in it but due to my lack of knowledge in Go, I’m still searching for fixes🙂.

Some of it’s properties are:

  • Small Size(binary ~= 2MB, tar ~= 700KB)
  • Shows if a Virtualenv is enabled
  • Shows the Username and Hostname if that system is accessed via SSH
  • Shows the Git branch
  • Shows the number of untracked and unstaged files as [+] and [!] respectively. There will be a count of both of the files unstaged or untracked.

You can find Shelby on GitHub here do give it a try and open an issue or two if you find anything unusual😃. It also passed 35 stars on GitHub(my highest starred repo). I also built a GitHub Action to keep me posted on any new stars on telegram just to keep me motivated😊.

I’d like to also thankGopikrishnan Sasikumar for providing me with a much needed mental support and being my mentor😇, and my Friend Kiran for the support and ideas .


Personal Blog of Athul Cyriac Ajay who is an Undergraduate Engineering Student in College of Engineering Kidangoor, a GitHub Campus Expert and a Python, Go lover.
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