#command-line #files #find

app findr

expression-oriented version of Unix find command

6 releases

Uses old Rust 2015

0.1.5 May 6, 2018
0.1.4 Apr 22, 2018

#2051 in Command line utilities

MIT license

406 lines

findr - finding files without flags

I am impressed by the sheer amount of functionality offered by the Unix find command, but remain unable to remember how to use it for anything other than the basics; otherwise I hit Google. I don't have a very good memory for flags, but I do remember expressions. findr is given exactly two arguments; the base directory and a filter expression:

$ findr . 'path.ext=="rs" && path.size > 1kb'
$ findr . 'path.is_file && date.before("1 jan")'
$ findr . 'path.ext=="md" and date.after("last tuesday")'

The filter expression is passed path, date and mode and fairly arbitrary expressions are supported, thanks to the very capable little embedded language rhai. As a little convenience, "and", "or" and "not" are understood, since these are easier to type in a hurry.

path has the following fields:

  • is_file is this path a file?
  • is_dir is this path a directory?
  • is_exec is this file executable?
  • is_write is this path writeable?
  • size size of file entry in bytes
  • ext extension of file path
  • file_name file name part of path

There's also a matches method (e.g. path.matches("*/readme.*")), and an ASCII-case-insensitive counterpart matches_ignore_case.

date has the following methods:

  • before(datestr) all files modified before this date
  • after(datestr) all files modified after this date
  • between(datestr,datestr) all files modified between these dates
  • on(datestr) all files modified on this day

mode is just the usual Unix permission bits - expressions may contain octal constants in Rust notation (e.g. 0o755)

Numbers may have a size prefix (kb,mb,gb - not case-sensitive) and date strings are interpreted by chrono-english.

Currently, findr ignores hidden directories and files excluded by .gitignore. It has not been entirely possible to do without flags!

~$ findr -h
findr: find files and filter with expressions

  -n, --no-hidden look at hidden files and follow hidden dirs
  -g, --no-gitignore do not respect .gitignore
  -f, --follow-links follow symbolic links
  -i, --case-insensitive do case-insensitive glob matches
  -m, --manual show more detailed help about findr

  <base-dir> (path) base directory to start traversal
  <filter-function> (default 'true') filter paths

By default, it speaks British English dates (i.e. not "9/11"), unless the environment variable FINDR_US is defined.

Respecting .gitignore is something that makes your life easier if you are not particularly interested in build artifacts. It is particularly useful in Rust projects because incremental compilation generates a lot of intermediate build artifacts. (if you do need to override the defaults then -gn will do the job.)

With findr, I can now finally answer the question "What the f*k did I do on Tuesday?":

~$ findr . 'date.on("last tues")'

With the -g flag (ignore .gitignore) there are 538 files changed on that day!

To illustrate my point about flag madness, the exact equivalent of findr . 'path.ext="rs"' is:

find . -type d -path '*/\.*' -prune -o -not -name '.*' -type f -name '*.rs' -print

(I had to look that one up)

Shortcut Filters

A feature inspired by the defaults of ripgrep is shortcut filters.

To quote the --manual:

If a filter is not provided and the base is not a dir, then
it is interpreted as a glob pattern searching from current dir.
If the glob does not start with '*', then:
  *  file-pattern becomes */file-pattern
  * .ext becomes *.ext

That is, findr readme.md is equivalent to findr . 'path.matches("*/readme.md"), and findr .c is equivalent to findr . 'path.matches("*.c").

The --case-insensitive (-i) flag will emit matches_ignore_case instead of matches, so that findr -i 'readme.*' will match README.TXT, README.md or any of the many variations found in the wild.

Furthermore we allow an additional condition after this implied glob pattern. If it's < or >, then the meaning is a path size expression, otherwise it's a time expression.

So findr '.c after last tues' will give me all C source files modified after last Tuesday, and findr '.doc > 256Kb' gives all .doc files greater than 256Kb. (The single quotes remain important to protect our expressions from shell wildcard expansion.)

To see what transformations that findr does on its filter, set the environment variable FINDR_DEBUG.


~120K SLoC