Warp supports subshells for bash, zsh, and fish.

What is a subshell?

Within the context of the Warp terminal, a "subshell" is defined as any nested interactive shell session that's spawned and running within the context of an existing, running shell. This might be a nested session running locally on your machine, a shell session running within a Docker container, or a remote server accessed through SSH.

Note that Warp's definition of a subshell differs from the more common definition of a Unix subshell, which typically refers to any shell process spawned as a child of the interactive shell. For example, in bash, a command wrapped in parentheses is executed in a subshell with its own PID and addressable memory space.

How to Warpify the subshell

By default, Warp automatically recognizes the following commands as subshell-compatible:

  • bash, fish, zsh

  • docker exec

  • gcloud compute ssh

  • eb ssh

  • poetry shell

When you run a command that's subshell-compatible, Warp will prompt you and invite you to "Warpify" the subshell which makes all of the modern IDE features of Warp available in that subshell. The list of subshell-compatible commands is configurable in Subshell settings as described below.

bash, zsh, or fish (3.6 or above) must be set as the default shell within containers and ssh sessions for the Warpification of the subshells to work.

Configuring subshell-compatible commands

To configure subshell-compatible commands, navigate to the Settings > Subshells.

Adding compatible commands

You can add any command that spawns a bash, fish, or zsh subshell to ‘Added commands’ to make it eligible for "Warpification."

Furthermore, you can add regular expressions to the Added commands list. Any commands that match an added regex will be eligible for "Warpification."

Blocklisting commands

Some types of subshells are not compatible, and you may also want to control Warp so it never invites you to "Warpify" the subshells for specific commands. When you add commands to the Blocklist, Warp will never invite you to "Warpify" subshells spawned by those commands.

Automatically "Warpify" subshells

To remember your preferences for a command and bypass the confirmation banner, you can manually paste the appropriate snippet to the end of the RC file corresponding to your subshell (bash, fish, or zsh).

# For zsh subshells, add to ~/.zshrc.
printf '\eP$f{"hook": "SourcedRcFileForWarp", "value": { "shell": "zsh"}}\x9c'

# For bash subshells, add to ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile.
printf '\eP$f{"hook": "SourcedRcFileForWarp", "value": { "shell": "bash"}}\x9c'

# For fish subshells, add to ~/.config/fish/
if status is-interactive
  printf '\eP$f{"hook": "SourcedRcFileForWarp", "value": { "shell": "fish"}}\x9c'

Once added, Warp will automatically "Warpify" subsequent subshell sessions for the corresponding shell on the machine with the newly updated RC file.

Under the hood, this snippet prints a Device Control String (DCS) to be read by Warp, signaling that a subshell session has started and is ready to be "Warpified." In turn, Warp executes a setup script in the session that enables the full suite of Warp features like blocks, completions, and the input editor.

For this reason, it’s best to ensure the snippet is added to the end of the RC file, so Warp does not attempt to execute the setup script before the shell has finished sourcing your RC file.

To disable automatic integration, simply remove the snippet from the corresponding RC file.

If you happen to encounter issues in subshell sessions where the RC file is sourced, don’t hesitate to file a GitHub issue.

Background commands

Warp runs background commands to power useful features like completions, syntax highlighting, and command corrections. For example, in order to provide completions for git checkout, Warp runs a background command that lists all git branches in the current repo.

In local subshell sessions, these commands are run in forked shell processes, isolated from your interactive shell session. This is the same implementation used for any non-subshell session.

In remote sessions, however, Warp takes a different approach – while a forked shell process is running on your local machine (where the Warp app is running), your remote session might be running on a server elsewhere. In these cases, Warp takes advantage of the session’s “idle time” – when no command is currently running – to run background commands directly in the session itself. These commands are executed in a non-interactive subshell process to prevent modifications to the session state (they cannot modify an environment variable, for instance).

Show/hide background blocks

By default, blocks for background commands are hidden. To show background command blocks, select ‘Show background blocks’ in the ‘Blocks’ menu of the macOS menu bar.

Disable background commands in remote sessions

We understand that some developers may want to disable background commands for certain or all environments.

To disable background commands in remote subshell sessions, you can execute the following command in a top-level terminal session:

defaults update dev.warp.Warp-Stable DisableInBandCommands true

This will effectively disable tab completions, syntax highlighting, command corrections, and the git status prompt indicator in remote subshells.

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