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A Review of "Getting Started with Tmux"

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A Review of "Getting Started with Tmux"

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I started using Tmux a while ago, and I realized what a time saving piece of software it was from the very first beginning. I was lucky enough to get access to a copy of the book "Getting Started with Tmux" the past week and I was hoping of sharing my thoughts with you on this great book and to tell you why tmux has been my default choice of a terminal multiplexer since then.

I use Linux everyday, not only to access remote servers and checking they are running as expected, but also to conduct my programming tasks. And of course, using the terminal is where I spend a lot of my time multi-tasking at work. If you use any Unix derivative machine, Linux or MacOS X, you could as well benefit from using this awesome tool.

After reading the book "Getting Started with Tmux" I started using Tmux in a way that allowed me to save me a lot of time because I was no longer doing repetitive tasks that I need to do every time I accessed a Linux server I needed to monitor, and also because I could use it to automate programming tasks (compiling and code linting for instance), and to use it to pair programming with my work colleagues. Also, having a great open source community extending this great piece of software is a plus and I know I can expect great new features in the near future. This rich set of features made me adopt Tmux without question!

This book is a great resource for someone who wants to become proactive using the terminal and to those who want to learn about Tmux, how to use it effectively and how to customize it to adapt into your normal daily workflow. Right from the start this book is an excellent resource to someone who is starting to use Tmux because it is very easy to read, it has figures showing you the most importants steps to customize and use Tmux, and a simple and rich layout full of information makes it a valuable resource to have. For future reference there is an appendix which tells you the commands and keystrokes to use in two possible modes that mimic two of the most used editors nowadays: emacs and vi.

Chapters are very well organized and come cleanly to the point giving you the necessary information to start using Tmux without confusing with unnecessary intric details. They are laid out as follows:

Chapter 1 - Jump Right In: in this chapter the author invites you start using Tmux right away while giving you a tour of the many features it has.

Chapter 2 - Configuring tmux: deals with the Tmux configuration, how to set and unset options and using the custom file .tmux.conf to put your personal settings and how to reload this file from the start.

Chapter 3 - Sessions, Windows, and Panes: in this chapter you will learn about the core building blocks of Tmux and how to move and organize your content within the terminal window: sessions (think of it as a login on your Operating System), windows (think of it as a web browser tab) and panes (multiple divisions on each of your windows where what you want to see from the terminal window will be laid out).

Chapter 4 - Manipulating Text: this chapter leads with the Copy mode (which deals with accessing the terminal history and copying text), paste buffers (which contain your copied text) and how to use the copied text around your Tmux sessions.

Chapter 5 - Diving Deeper: goes into more detail on the rich set of Tmux features, like opening the interactive paste buffer, saving the paste buffer to a file, loading the paste buffer from a file, deleting items from the paste buffer, breaking and joining panes, and moving windows from one session to another. This is one of the most important chapters of the book and where most of the great features are explained and illustrated.

Chapter 6 - tmux for SSH, Pair Programming, and More: explains how to use Tmux to create long-lived fault-tolerant SSH sessions and how it can be used for pair programming. This is a killer feature for programmers, specially for creating sessions that can be shared remotely to allow developers to work with each other without stepping on each others' toes.

Chapter 7 - Using Other Tools with tmux: in this last chapter, the author tells how to use third-party tools that can extend the power and functionality of tmux, from turbocharging your Tmux configuration, to session management made easy, and better pair programming with these awesome utilities you can use with your Tmux.

Overall, "Getting Started with Tmux" feels to me the right book to read if you are just starting to use and experiment with Tmux. It puts a lot of attention to the detail, makes very easy to understand the core building blocks of Tmux and walks you through a rich set of features you definitely will love to use while making you save precious time to focus on work that matters.

Hope you like it and that is gets you use Tmux as your favourite terminal multiplexer for Linux, Mac OS or Unix derivative. To end my review on this great book, here is a screenshot of Tmux in action:

tmux in action 

Tmux Homepage: Tmux webpage
"Getting Started with Tmux" on Amazon.com: Getting Started with Tmux

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.


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