When-changed Zsh

Shell Programming

As a dedicated user of the zsh shell, I’ve come to appreciate the power and flexibility it offers. One feature that has proven to be incredibly useful in my daily workflow is the when-changed tool for zsh. This nifty utility has made it easier for me to monitor file changes and take automated actions based on those changes. Let’s dive into the details of when-changed and explore how it can be a game-changer for zsh users.

Understanding when-changed

When-changed is a fantastic tool that allows zsh users to monitor file changes in real-time. Whether it’s a modification, creation, or deletion of a file, when-changed can detect these events and trigger custom actions based on the changes. This level of automation has significantly improved my productivity and saved me valuable time that would have otherwise been spent manually monitoring file changes.

Installation and Setup

Installing when-changed for zsh is a breeze. Simply use the package manager of your choice, such as Homebrew or apt, to install the when-changed tool. Once installed, you can start using it right away in your zsh terminal.

For example, to monitor a specific file for changes and execute a command whenever a change is detected, you can use the following command:

when-changed -c

Customization and Advanced Usage

One of the aspects I love about when-changed is its customization options. You can tailor the tool to suit your specific workflow by defining custom commands, implementing filters, and setting up recursive monitoring for directories. This level of flexibility has allowed me to create intricate automation workflows that adapt to the dynamic nature of my projects.

Moreover, when-changed integrates seamlessly with other zsh utilities and scripting languages, empowering users to harness the full potential of their zsh environment. Whether it’s triggering a shell script, running a series of commands, or notifying me of file changes via system notifications, when-changed has become an indispensable part of my zsh toolkit.


Overall, when-changed has revolutionized the way I interact with files and directories within my zsh environment. Its real-time monitoring capabilities, coupled with customizable actions, have elevated my productivity and streamlined my development and administrative tasks. If you’re a zsh user looking to enhance your workflow and automate file monitoring, I highly recommend giving when-changed a try. It’s a small yet powerful addition that has made a significant impact on my daily computing experience.