app ate-pager

It paginates and navigates

2 releases

0.1.1 Nov 17, 2022
0.1.0 Nov 17, 2022

#630 in Command line utilities

MIT license

2.5K SLoC

ate is a terminal pager that parses terminal hyperlinks and lets you search, move between, and open them. It navigates in addition to paginating. While it pages through text streams like existing terminal pagers, less has far more features for that use case.

Watch the video below for high-level usage and check out why ate for more on the motivation for the tool and how to use it.


Unmute the video to hear narration or read it below:

  • Run ripgrep on the term render in this repo. We wrap ripgrep with hyperer to insert links to the matched files
  • Mouse over the links to show what was inserted
  • Rerun ripgrep feeding the output into ate
  • Step through the links with n
  • Search with / and whittle down to a single result
  • Hit Enter to open that match in our editor


Install Rust, clone this repo, and run cargo install in your clone. Alternatively, if you're using the Nix package manager, depend on the flake.nix in this repo.

You may also want to install something to get links if you don't have a program you want to use with ate.


Send text to ate's standard input, like via this pipe: hyperer-rg --pretty <my_search> | ate

Or like this input redirection:

ate < my_linkful_output

In either case, ate will show the first screenful of text and parse any links in it.

Key Bindings

  • n goes to the next link.
  • N goes to the previous one.
  • Enter opens the currently selected link by starting the command in the ATE_OPENER environment variable with the link address as the first argment.
  • / opens a link searcher and typing text there reduces the links to ones that contain the typed text.
  • ⬆️ and ⬇️ move forward and backwards in matches in the link searcher.
  • Enter in the link searcher selects the current link there and returns to the text view.
  • Esc in the link searcher exits searching and returns to the position before searching.
  • q exits in normal mode and Ctrl-C exits in any mode.

Environment Variables

All of ate's configuration is done through environment variables:


Program to invoke to open a link e.g. when Enter is pressed. The selected link is passed to it as the first argument. The link should be of the form file://hostname/path#line number according to the terminal hyperlinks doc. There's no guarantee that a program isn't emitting malformed links, but ate openers assume that form for now.

ate expects to invoke this process and for it to open the file to edit in another window. For example, you can use Vim's remote command or emacsclient to do that.

opener_examples has scripts that can be used as openers. To use one, download it, modify it if your system differs, and export ATE_OPENER as the full path to the script.

For example, if you have this repo cloned at ~/dev/ate and use NeoVim, you run a different command depending on your shell:

  • For zsh or bash: export ATE_OPENER=~/dev/ate/opener_examples/nvim_opener.bash
  • For fish: set -xU ATE_OPENER ~/dev/ate/opener_examples/nvim_opener.bash

For zsh or bash, you'll also want to add it to your shell startup files to get it to show up in new shells.


If defined, ate will open the first link it finds on starting. I use this Bash script to run cargo and compile Rust:

# Use hyperer-cargo to link to Rust files in compilation failures, test failures, and backtraces
hyperer-cargo --color=always $* |\
# Print the cargo output to the terminal and to a temp file
  tee /tmp/hyperlinked_cargo.out

# If the cargo command failed, open the output in ate.
# If it didn't fail, we won't have anything interesting to navigate
if [[ ${PIPESTATUS[0]} -ne 0 ]] ; then
  # If it's been under 5 seconds since the script started, set ATE_OPEN_FIRST
  # This means if a compile or test was quick, we open the failure using ATE_OPENER ASAP
  # If cargo took longer, we don't immediately open a link in case we've started doing something in our editor.
  if [[ $SECONDS -lt 5  ]] ; then
    export ATE_OPEN_FIRST=
  ate < /tmp/hyperlinked_cargo.out

Getting Links

ate's most useful on text containing hyperlinks. Terminal hyperlinks are a relatively new feature, so few programs support them out of the box. ls, gcc, systemd, and delta are some that do.

Until hyperlink support shows up in more programs, we can wrap existing programs, detect things that could be linked in their output, and emit terminal links around that text.

hyperer does that for ripgrep and cargo. I highly recommend installing it and using ripgrep with it to get a sense of what ate does. It can also serve as a base for adding links to other commands.

What's Missing

ate is very young and is missing obvious features. I plan to add at least these:

  • Searching for text. It only searches links currently.
  • Streaming input. It currently reads all of standard input on startup.

It might also make sense to add these features:

  • Taking file arguments instead of only standard input.
  • Tailing files.

It's possible that it'll be possible to handle these cases with other utilities. If it isn't, I'll add them to ate, too.


~843K SLoC