Direnv Explanation

The project direnv/direnv registers itself in Zshell to modify environment on directory change. This registration is most often done by eval "$(direnv hook zsh)" added to zshrc.

Drawback of this standard procedure is that direnv binary is ran on every shell startup and significantly slows it down. Zinit allows to solve this in following way:

zinit as"program" make'!' atclone'./direnv hook zsh > zhook.zsh' \
    atpull'%atclone' pick"direnv" src"zhook.zsh" for \
  • make'!' – compile direnv (it's written in Go lang); the exclamation mark means: run the make first, before atclone and atpull hooks,
  • atclone'…' – initially (right after installing the plugin) generate the registration code and save it to zhook.zsh (instead of passing to eval),
  • atpull'%atclone' – regenerate the registration code also on update (atclone'' runs on installation while atpull runs on update of the plugin),
  • src"zhook.zsh" – load (source) the generated registration code,
  • pick"direnv" – ensure +x permission on the binary,
  • as"program" – the plugin is a program, there's no main file to source.

This way registration code is generated once every installation and update, to then be simply sourced without running direnv.

The project is also available as binary Github release. This distribution can be installed by:

zinit from"gh-r" as"program" mv"direnv* -> direnv" \
    atclone'./direnv hook zsh > zhook.zsh' atpull'%atclone' \
    pick"direnv" src="zhook.zsh" for \
  • from"gh-r" – install from Github releases,
  • mv"…" – after installation, rename direnv.linux-386 or similar file to direnv,
  • atclone'…', atpull'…' – as in previous example,
  • pick"direnv" – as in previous example,
  • as"program" – as in previous example.