Previous article This article assumes you are familiar with dotfiles and Dobot. If you want to know more about Dotbot click here

In this article I will show you how you can use Dotbot plugins. We can use Dotbot plugins to run new directives such as apt. So we can use the apt package manager, so install packages.

Tip One useful use case is when we setup on a new system we may want to make we have some packages installed like vim or make. We can automate some of this with Dotbot and its plugins.

Automate Meme

Current Setup

Lets pretend we have something setup like this. We are using Dotbot with profiles.

β”œβ”€β”€ ....
β”œβ”€β”€ bashrc
β”œβ”€β”€ .gitconfig
β”œβ”€β”€ install-profile
β”œβ”€β”€ install-standalone
β”œβ”€β”€ meta
β”‚   β”œβ”€β”€ configs
β”‚   β”‚   └── git.yaml
β”‚   β”œβ”€β”€ dotbot
β”‚   β”œβ”€β”€ base.yaml
β”‚   └── profiles
β”‚       └── linux
└── vscode

(Optional) Directives

Directives are commands that we specify in the yaml files that are parsed by Dotbot. You can learn more about directives here.

This is the main directive we use to create symlinks between the repo and the system we run Dotbot on.

- link:
    ~/.gitconfig: .gitconfig


The create directive is used to create new (empty) folders. This code creates a new empty folder called downloads in your home directory. If it doesn’t already exist.

- create:
    - ~/downloads


Shell is used to run commands, well on the shell πŸ˜…. If we wanted to install starship prompt onto our system we could do something like:

- shell:
    - command: curl -fsSL | sh -s -- --yes
      stdout: true
      stderr: true

Dotbot just runs these in the order it encounters them in our config files. If our git.yaml file looks something like:

- link:
    ~/.gitconfig: .gitconfig

It will only run the link directive, as this is the only file specified


Now that we know what directives are, how do plugins fit into all this? Plugins allow us to extend Dotbot behaviour by adding new directives. For example an apt directive so we can install packages using the apt package manager.

You can find a full list of Dotbot plugins here.


Profiles This assumes you are using Dotbot with profiles. If not you can add the submodule to the root directory not to the meta folder.

In this example we will add the dotbot-apt plugin.

git submodule add meta/dotbot-apt

Now we can create a new config in meta/configs/packages.yaml:

- apt:
    - zsh
    - jq
    - fzf
    - vim
    - make

This specifies a list of packages we want to install with apt including jq, fzf and vim. Then in our meta/profiles/linux looks like:


You may be wondering where the -sudo came from when our file is called package. The sudo suffix is used when we want to run those directive with sudo. On most machines you can only install packages with sudo privilages.

Finally we need to update our install-standalone and install-profile scripts. Edit the cmd variable like so:

    -p "${BASE_DIR}/${META_DIR}/dotbot-apt/"  -c "$configFile"

Then we can run this command ./install-profile linux to run all the config files specified in the linux profile. It will ask for your sudo password when it reaches the packages.yaml file.


That’s it! We have now setup Dotbot to use plugins. There are a ton of plugins, I ended up using apt and yay. I was jumping between an Ubuntu based system and an Arch system.