Coder offers the coder dotfiles <repo> command which simplifies workspace personalization. Our behavior is consistent with Codespaces, so their documentation explains how it loads your repo.

You can read more on dotfiles best practices here.


Templates can prompt users for their dotfiles repo using the following pattern:

variable "dotfiles_uri" {
  description = <<-EOF
  Dotfiles repo URI (optional)

  see https://dotfiles.github.io
    # The codercom/enterprise-* images are only built for amd64
  default = ""

resource "coder_agent" "main" {
  startup_script = var.dotfiles_uri != "" ? "coder dotfiles -y ${var.dotfiles_uri}" : null

Persistent Home

Sometimes you want to support personalization without requiring dotfiles.

In such cases:

  • Mount a persistent volume to the /home directory
  • Set the startup_script to call a ~/personalize script that the user can edit
resource "coder_agent" "main" {
  startup_script = "/home/coder/personalize"

The user can even fill personalize with coder dotfiles <repo>, but those looking for a simpler approach can inline commands like so:

sudo apt update
# Install some of my favorite tools every time my workspace boots
sudo apt install -y neovim fish cargo

Setup script support

User can setup their dotfiles by creating one of the following script files in their dotfiles repo:

  • install.sh
  • install
  • bootstrap.sh
  • bootstrap
  • script/bootstrap
  • setup.sh
  • setup
  • script/setup

If any of the above files are found (in the specified order), Coder will try to execute the first match. After the first match is found, other files will be ignored.

The setup script must be executable, otherwise the dotfiles setup will fail. If you encounter this issue, you can fix it by making the script executable using the following commands:

cd <path_to_dotfiles_repo>
chmod +x <script_name>
git commit -m "Make <script_name> executable" <script_name>
git push
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