Why Zsh Is Better Than Fish

Shell Programming

As a seasoned developer, I’ve experimented with various shell environments over the years, and I’ve often found myself at the crossroads between zsh and fish. Both are powerful, feature-rich shells that have garnered devoted followings among the developer community. However, in my experience, I’ve come to appreciate zsh for its versatility, extensive customization options, and robust scripting capabilities, which I believe set it apart from fish.

Extensive Customization and Plugins

One of the aspects that immediately drew me to zsh is its extensive customization options. The Oh-My-Zsh framework, a community-driven initiative for managing zsh configurations, offers a plethora of themes and plugins that greatly enhance the shell’s functionality. Whether I’m looking to streamline my workflow with git integration, auto-completion, or syntax highlighting, Oh-My-Zsh provides a wealth of plugins that can be easily incorporated into my zsh setup.

On the other hand, while fish does offer some level of customization, I found that it falls short in comparison to the vast array of options available for zsh. Although fish’s simplicity is appealing to some, I prefer the ability to fine-tune and tailor my shell environment to suit my specific needs, which zsh readily accommodates.

Robust Scripting Capabilities

When it comes to scripting, zsh truly shines. Its scripting language is incredibly powerful and expressive, allowing for complex automation tasks and robust scripting capabilities. With zsh, I’ve been able to create intricate scripts that facilitate various aspects of my development workflow, from automating repetitive tasks to managing system configurations.

On the other hand, fish’s scripting language, while user-friendly and intuitive, is more limited in its capabilities. For developers who require advanced scripting features and the ability to create intricate automation routines, zsh’s scripting prowess is a clear advantage.

Community and Longevity

Another factor that influenced my preference for zsh is its longevity and the size of its community. Zsh has been around for decades, accruing a vast community of users and contributors who continually enhance and expand its capabilities. This longevity has resulted in a mature, stable shell with a wealth of resources and documentation available to users.

While fish has gained traction in recent years, it still lacks the extensive history and established community that zsh boasts. In my experience, having access to a robust community and a wealth of resources has been invaluable in navigating the intricacies of zsh and leveraging its full potential.


Ultimately, the choice between zsh and fish is a matter of personal preference and specific workflow requirements. However, for developers seeking a highly customizable, script-friendly shell with a thriving community and extensive plugin ecosystem, zsh stands out as the preferred option. Its versatility, robust scripting capabilities, and vast customization options have solidified its place as my go-to shell environment for all my development endeavors.