Adding .vimrc Dotfile to Github

Posted on with tags: software utility / vim

Youtube has a nice video Learning Vim In A Week, and I watch it every few months to refresh my Vim skills. In the video the presenter suggests people to version control dotfiles such as .vimrc, which is the setting file Vim loads during startup. There is a website dedicated to this topic.

Dotfiles seem to be different than normal files in a regular github repo. I googled and found a stackoverflow post which discusses the exact same issue. The accepted answer seems a reasonable start point, so I create a github repo and start a directory containing .vimrc and .simple dot files. The answer also suggests to create symbol links in home directory to the dot files. However, I find it does not work well. When I use vim -u ~/.simple command to load a specific dot file, Vim reports an error. Instead the hard links should be used here. You simply use ln file link command to create hard links instead of ln -s ... command.

When adding files to git version control, the command git add . should be used. The command git add * will not work because * does not expand to include dot files.

I also wrote a short python script to automatically create the hard links in the home directory. The program is not long and the source code is listed below.

#! python3

Create hard links in ~/ or home directory.
The purpose is to track the .dot file by git and github


git add .
git commit -m "message"
git push origin master

to update git repo

After you git clone the repo
run $python3 to create hard links in home dir.

Written by George Zhang on 6/8/20

import os
import subprocess

def main():
    abspath = os.path.abspath(__file__) 
    dname = os.path.dirname(abspath)

    filenames = os.listdir()

    for f in filenames:
        if os.path.isfile(f) and f.startswith('.') and not f.endswith('.swp'):
            # ln command
            # os module has link and symlink function
            p1 ='ln -f {f} ~/{f}', shell=True, capture_output=True) 
            print('running command: ', f'ln -f {f} ~/{f}', end=' --> ')
            if p1.returncode == 0:


if __name__ == '__main__':