Mac users have this magic convenience of typing
open index.html into their terminal to open a file from their current directory in the browser. Those of us on WSL aren’t so lucky. If you’re lucky, then
open command will open a windows directory. Cool, I guess? But not exactly super helpful. The internet abounds with recommendations — from trying
browse to even more convoluted methods. But the question remains: what’s the easiest way to open an HTML file in the browser from WSL?
The closest thing I’ve found is to use the Windows Subsystem for Linux’s
explorer.exe command. So, for example, typing
explorer.exe index.html will open the file
index.html in your default browser. That’s the simplest version of Mac’s
open command. Sort of.
explorer.exe is still a little bit of a handful, and I’m lazy. I mean
open is four characters, and
explorer.exe is twelve. That’s three times as many characters. No thanks!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something simpler? How about
see index.html? Fortunately, we can leverage the ability to create aliases in bash to make this dream a reality. Just drop the following into your terminal:
echo "alias see='explorer.exe'" >> ~/.bashrc && source ~/.bash_profile
Now… wait, no, that’s it. You’re done. Now you can just type
see index.html to open your
index.html file in your browser. And you can use one fewer character than those Mac folks. Just imagine what you could do with the time savings…