Dries Vints has a new tutorial on how he manages and sets up his dot files
Dotfiles basically contain the preferred setup of your computer. They usually come with a setup procedure so you can easily install everything again when you need to start from a fresh system. They’re also really useful for syncing preferences across multiple devices.
A couple of months ago I had to re-install my computer a couple of times. And damn, that was quite the undertaking. Figuring out which apps I had to re-install, setting up my IDE again properly, losing all of my shell settings and aliases. Total pain. And something no one wants to do ever again. So I decided that the next time I needed to re-install my computer I’d be prepared. I wouldn’t go through this ordeal ever again.
More than likely I’m in the minority because I enjoy starting from that clean slate. Every time I reinstall I start fresh and try to add the minimum to get my machine setup and then when I find something missing I add it. Granted I do not reinstall that often.