Shortcut: IDE Switching

February 6, 2022

Avoiding decision fatigue is an aspiration of mine. If my lizard brain is at the wheel, some guardrails can be helpful.

I have used a shell alias to launch my IDE of choice from whatever directory I'm now in for years. If I enter s, the current path is opened in Sublime Text.

Over time, I've drifted between Sublime Text, Atom (RIP), Nova, and Visual Studio Code. As I'm trying a new (to me) IDE, I create a similar alias for the new IDE. Typing a opens Atom, typing c opens Visual Studio Code, etc.

My .zshrc or .bash_profile, this looks like this:

alias a="atom ."
alias c="code ."
alias n="nova ."
alias s="subl ."

When I want to give a new IDE a real-world trial, I change the command from the IDE in muscle memory to the new one. This eliminates any hesitation or decision about which IDE to open.

If I'm trying out Visual Studio Code, typing s will open Visual Studio Code instead of Sublime Text. I notice and appreciate how the switch has become frictionless the first few times. After a few days, I no longer see the change.