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So you’ve got put in `fzf`. Now what?

So you’ve got put in `fzf`. Now what?

2023-03-21 11:01:34

Software program engineers are, if not distinctive, then darn close to
distinctive within the ease with which we will create instruments to enhance
our personal skilled lives; this nevertheless can come at a steep
value over time for individuals who consistently flit again and
forth between totally different instruments with out investing the time to
study their very own equipment in depth. As somebody with a wholesome
respect for the tacit knowledge of people better than
, I
assume an awesome 80/20 heuristic is “Study the oldies
first”: venerable Unix instruments like cat, ls, cd, grep,
and minimize. (sed and awk, too, when you have the nice
fortune of touchdown your self in an precise trendy sysadmin

However there are instruments whose return on funding is so
rapid, and whose worth prop is so distinctive, that the 80/20
heuristic breaks down totally for them. fzf is one among
them. And it makes me unhappy to see so many individuals obtain it,
run it as-is on the command line, after which simply shake their
heads and stroll away, saying “I don’t get it”.

Right here I wish to change that. Fake you reside on a
more-or-less normal Ubuntu field. You’ve simply put in
fzf – now what?

First attempt Ctrl+R

In most terminals, Linux and Home windows alike, Ctrl+R provides
you backwards search in your instructions. The explanation you,
like me, could not have heard about this till you had already
been hacking away for ten flippin’ years on the shell is
as a result of the bottom model form of sucks for two causes:

  • That you must give an actual match to get what you’re
    attempting to recollect.
  • You get just one preview, so for those who miss that precise
    match by even one character, you’re on a wild goose chase.

fzf is a little bit of a bizarre program as a result of putting in it
really overwrites an entire bunch of keyboard shortcuts, in
the curiosity of constructing them higher. Usually I might hate
this. However…

… It is a appreciable enchancment on the baseline.

… now attempt Alt+C

Let’s say you boot into an empty terminal. You’re attempting to
rapidly discover your nascent SaaS facet hustle repos and cd to
it – however it’s been weeks because you’ve been there, your
precise full time job has been unusually enjoyable and fascinating…
How do you discover it?

Reply: With fzf. fzf rewrites Alt+C right into a souped-up
fuzzy-cd shortcut that permits you to hop round very rapidly
when all you keep in mind is the imprecise identify of the listing in

The bottom fzf command

Okay, we’ve bought the shortcuts out of the way in which. Actually these
two guys alone present the vast majority of the worth I get out
of fzf – however let’s take a look at what the command, by itself,

It fuzzy-finds file places! Relative ones, not less than, to
your personal listing. This… isn’t that helpful, by itself.

However attempt vi $(fzf), and…!!!

And also you get a fuzzy-open-in-editor expertise!

(There’s nothing particular about vi on this regard, btw. You
can name it with emacs,
code, no matter floats your boat!)

See Also

vi $(discover . '/' | fzf): For locating random config information

The opposite day I used to be attempting to hack collectively child’s first
live-reload with a Firefox extension, entr, and nginx.
And I discovered myself asking: The place the heck is nginx.conf?

I reviewed my choices. I might

  1. Use my half-remembered information of the FHS to guess round, with bushes and greps, or
  2. Simply know and recall it and really feel superior to everybody else, or
  3. Simply pipe discover . ‘/’ to fzf and begin looking.

I like this clip quite a bit as a result of it reveals among the refined
tradeoffs of utilizing fzf, in addition to one of many extra
superior looking options – trying to find conf$ will
filter out any line that doesn’t finish in conf. Discover
that fzf quickly wigs out when discover hits an entire lot
of “Permission denied” errors – however then recovers itself a
few seconds later.

Are these additional few seconds definitely worth the tradeoff for being
capable of finding config information in such a braindead method? It’s
for me.

Introducing rg: Quick, recursive-by-default grep

All the pieces I say beneath can be finished with grep as properly,
however the recursive-by-default nature of rg (also referred to as
ripgrep) is the place the software actually comes into its personal. I
extremely suggest you obtain it and use it for the
following examples as properly. However for those who’re toolshy, don’t

rg . | fzf: Fuzzy search each line in each file

rg . | fzf | minimize -d ":" -f 1: Fuzzy search each line, in each file, and return the file location

vim $(rg . | fzf | minimize -d ":" -f 1): Fuzzy search each line, in each file, and open that file

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