Projectable offers the ultimate solution to getting lost in your project's file hierarchy, trying to find the right file to open. Instead of exploring the depths of your most nested directory, open it simply from the file listing!

Above just a hierarchical view of your filesystem, projectable comes with built-in integration with tmux and git. Not only that, but it's also incredibly extensible: providing sane defaults yet allowing just about everything to be customized.

The vast amount of features coalesce into a pretty neat package! The goal of projectable is for you to never leave the comfortable TUI interface, and instead interact with your project efficiently and safely using the dashboard-style interface.

You can learn more about the project on GitHub. In the rest of this post, I'll go over some reflections/highlights that brought me to its initial v0.1.0 release!


Back before I was as comfortable in my terminal, I was always in search of a universal terminal "project manager". There was never quite one that pulled together all of the features I wanted, pulling together git, tmux, my editor, and of course, all the specific commands I ran exclusive to my projects.

So, I put it on my ideas list. And a few months later, I felt good enough to try to implement what I had previously envisioned.

A Few Implementation Highlights

I wrote projectable in Rust, using tui-rs to handle the UI. There were a bunch of interesting challenges I came across writing the code, two of which I think are notable enough to talk about.

Blocking I/O and Event Sources

One of the earliest and most prominent challenges I stumbled upon was real-time filesystem updates, something I considered essential for true "project management". I found the excellent notify-rs crate that served this exact purpose. One of my big challenges of this, however, was blocking at the right time such that 100% of my CPU would not be consumed. So for the new system, my app needed to block while waiting for two sources:

  1. Keyboard or mouse input
  2. Filesystem changes

I ran into numerous problems getting both to block at the right time, especially because foreground processes that projectable might spawn (like vim or neovim) need keyboard input too. Long story short, I had to manage projectable's long-running threads with great precision, which took me a while to figure out as I was pretty new to this style of I/O in general. All of this and more is present in the external_event module of the repository.

Windows Command Execution

As I wanted projectable to be Windows-compatible, many of the shell commands I was running (like cat for previews) would not work the same. Specifically, some select Windows programs have a different style of receiving arguments. This made running preview commands very difficult, as Windows would not properly escape paths with spaces in them. Additionally, I don't own a Windows computer, so debugging during this process was quite tedious.

After a great deal of struggle, I found the insufficiently referenced raw_arg extension for the Rust Command type. This allowed paths to be actually escaped, so spaces would work. You can see my implementation in the source!

Moving Forward

I will continue to update projectable until I feel like it's good enough to release v1.0.0. I still have a few ideas in mind! Again, check out the GitHub repository for more information about the actual program. If you're interested in a specific feature, find a bug, or don't understand something, feel free to submit an issue.

I myself use projectable all the time, like when I know I'll be working on a project for over an hour or two. I hope you found this post interesting, and perhaps it even got you interested in projectable!