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, 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 n opens Nova, 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 Nova, typing a will open Nova instead of Atom. I notice and appreciate how the switch has become frictionless the first few times. After a few days, I no longer see the change.