I have this line in my .zshrc:

alias cdtmp='cd `mktemp -d /tmp/frantic-XXXXXX`'

It’s a super simple alias that creates a temporary directory and then jumps into it. Here are a few examples of what I use it for:

  1. Clone a random interesting git repo to experiment with
  2. Fiddle with Flow: cdtmp && flow init and I have a working environment to narrow down a bug
  3. Play with unfamiliar node modules: cdtmp && yarn add xyz && node

I think cdtmp is partially a mental trick I use to reduce the barrier for trying new things and experimenting. I no longer need to make a name for my project or decide which folder to create it in. I also don’t have to deal with it later if I consider it not worth paying attention to anymore – the OS will clean it up at some point automatically.

Hi! My name is Alex. I’m a software engineer at Facebook, where I work on React Native, Oculus and Messenger. I love thinking about development experience.

I write about programming, software design and side projects Subscribe