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One nice feature of zsh is the way it prints directories. For example, if we set the prompt like this:

phoenix% PROMPT='%~> '
~> cd src

the shell will print the current directory in the prompt, using the ~ character. However, zsh is smarter than most other shells in this respect:

~/src> cd ~subbarao
~subbarao> cd ~maruchck
~maruchck> cd lib
~maruchck/lib> cd fun
~maruchck/lib/fun> foo=/usr/princeton/common/src
~maruchck/lib/fun> cd ~foo
~foo> cd ..
/usr/princeton/common> cd src
~foo> cd news/nntp
~foo/news/nntp> cd inews

Note that zsh prints other users' directories in the form ~user. Also note that you can set a parameter and use it as a directory name; zsh will act as if foo is a user with the login directory /usr/princeton/common/src. This is convenient, especially if you're sick of seeing prompts like this:


If you get stuck in this position, you can give the current directory a short name, like this:

/usr/princeton/common/src/news/nntp/inews> inews=$PWD
/usr/princeton/common/src/news/nntp/inews> echo ~inews

When you reference a directory in the form ~inews, the shell assumes that you want the directory displayed in this form; thus simply typing echo ~inews or cd ~inews causes the prompt to be shortened. You can define a shell function for this purpose:

~inews> namedir () { $1=$PWD ;  : ~$1 }
~inews> cd /usr/princeton/bin
/usr/princeton/bin> namedir pbin
~pbin> cd /var/spool/mail
/var/spool/mail> namedir spool
~spool> cd .msgs

You may want to add this one-line function to your `.zshrc'.

zsh can also put the current directory in your title bar, if you are using a windowing system. One way to do this is with the chpwd function, which is automatically executed by the shell whenever you change directory. If you are using xterm, this will work:

chpwd () { print -Pn '^[]2;%~^G' }

The -P option tells print to treat its arguments like a prompt string; otherwise the %~ would not be expanded. The -n option suppresses the terminating newline, as with echo.

If you are using an IRIS wsh, do this:

chpwd () { print -Pn '^[P1.y%~^[' }

The print -D command has other uses. For example, to print the current directory to standard output in short form, you can do this:

% print -D $PWD

and to print each component of the path in short form:

% print -D $path
/bin /usr/bin ~locbin ~locbin/X11 ~/bin

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