Kristian Freeman

Quick review of Zellij

There are two pieces of sticky software that I have never been able to escape from: vim & tmux.

tmux in particular was a huge upgrade for me over my previous workflow. It was the first time I realized that terminals could be smarter and do splits, tabs, etc.

Those things are built into terminal apps now, but ten years ago, as I was getting comfortable in the command-line, it was mind-blowing!

But I have always fought with tmux over a few specific things: sane scroll behavior, keybindings, and theming.

Not sure where I first saw Zellij, but when it was mentioned as a modern tmux, I was intrigued! Now, after a few weeks of usage, I'm confident Zellij is going to replace tmux on all my machines.

It has great defaults for those three things I mentioned above. Scrolling via the trackpad just works in Zellij. Zellij makes its keybindings very visible (see screenshots), but it also has support for the default tmux keybidings, which is a neat touch considering I have a decade of muscle memory doing n, p, etc. I'll slowly relearn those habits, but having that to fallback onto is great.

I'm excited to dig into some of the more advanced functionality too - I see that it has floating shell support, it can revive sessions after they've been killed, and I'm sure there's a lot more I haven't even discovered yet.

Like a lot of really good CLIs, it's been unobtrusive while I get my bearings. The complex stuff is still there! But I know it will stay out of my way until I'm ready for it.

It's a fun time to be into command-line tools! So many new things to try out.