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Create self-documenting cli programs from YAML files. Easily wrap bash, grunt, npm, docker, (anything) to standardize your processes and make the lives of the people working on your project better.



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AHOY logo

AHOY! - Automate and organize your workflows, no matter what technology you use.

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Note: Ahoy 2.x is now released and is the only supported version.

Ahoy is command line tool that gives each of your projects their own CLI app with zero code and dependencies.

Write your commands in a YAML file and then Ahoy gives you lots of features like:

  • a command listing
  • per-command help text
  • command tab completion
  • run commands from any subdirectory

Ahoy makes it easy to create aliases and templates for commands that are useful. It was created to help with running interactive commands within Docker containers, but it's just as useful for local commands, commands over ssh, or really anything that could be run from the command line in a single clean interface.


Say you want to import a MySQL database running in docker-compose using another container called cli. The command could look like this:

docker exec -i $(docker-compose ps -q cli) bash -c 'mysql -u$DB_ENV_MYSQL_USER -p$DB_ENV_MYSQL_PASSWORD -h$DB_PORT_3306_TCP_ADDR $DB_ENV_MYSQL_DATABASE' < some-database.sql

With Ahoy, you can turn this into:

ahoy mysql-import < some-database.sql

More examples.


  • Non-invasive - Use your existing workflow! It can wrap commands and scripts you are already using.
  • Consistent - Commands always run relative to the .ahoy.yml file, but can be called from any subfolder.
  • Visual - See a list of all your commands in one place, along with helpful descriptions.
  • Flexible - Commands are specific to a single folder tree, so each repo/workspace can have its own commands.
  • Command templates - Args can be dropped into your commands using {{args}}
  • Fully interactive - Your shells (like MySQL) and prompts still work.
  • Self-documenting - Commands and help declared in .ahoy.yml show up as ahoy command help and shell completion of commands (see bash/zsh completion) is also available.



Using Homebrew:

brew install ahoy

Note that ahoy is in homebrew-core as of 1/18/19, so you don't need to use the old tap. If you were previously using it, you can use the following command to remove it:

brew untap ahoy-cli/tap


Download the latest release from GitHub, move the appropriate binary for your plaform into someplace in your $PATH and rename it ahoy.


os=$(uname -s | tr [:upper:] [:lower:]) && architecture=$(case $(uname -m) in x86_64 | amd64) echo "amd64" ;; aarch64 | arm64 | armv8) echo "arm64" ;; *) echo "amd64" ;; esac) && sudo wget -q$os-$architecture -O /usr/local/bin/ahoy && sudo chown $USER /usr/local/bin/ahoy && chmod +x /usr/local/bin/ahoy


For WSL2, use the Linux binary above for your architecture.

Some additions in v2

  • Implements a new feature to import multiple config files using the "imports" field.
  • Uses the "last in wins" rule to deal with duplicate commands amongst the config files.
  • Better handling of quotes by no longer using {{args}}. Use regular bash syntax like "$@" for all arguments, or $1 for the first argument.
  • You can now use a different entrypoint (the thing that runs your commands) instead of bash. E.g. using PHP, Node.js, Python, etc. is possible.
  • Plugins are now possible by overriding the entrypoint.

Example of new YAML setup in v2

# All files must have v2 set or you'll get an error
ahoyapi: v2

# You can now override the entrypoint. This is the default if you don't override it.
# {{cmd}} is replaced with your command and {{name}} is the name of the command that was run (available as $0)
  - bash
  - "-c"
  - '{{cmd}}'
  - '{{name}}'
      usage: An example of a single-line command.
      cmd: echo "Do stuff with bash"

      usage: Show more advanced features.
      cmd: | # We support multi-line commands with pipes.
          echo "multi-line bash script";
          # You can call other ahoy commands.
          ahoy simple-command
          # you can take params
          echo "your params were: $@"
          # you can use numbered params, same as bash.
          echo "param1: $1"
          echo "param2: $2"
          # Everything bash supports is available, if statements, etc.
          # Hate bash? Use something else like python in a subscript or change the entrypoint.

      usage: List the commands from the imported config files.
      # These commands will be aggregated together with later files overriding earlier ones if they exist.
        - ./some-file1.ahoy.yml
        - ./some-file2.ahoy.yml
        - ./some-file3.ahoy.yml

Planned Features

  • Enable specifying specific arguments and flags in the ahoy file itself to cut down on parsing arguments in scripts.
  • Support for more built-in commands or a "verify" YAML option that would create a yes / no prompt for potentially destructive commands. (Are you sure you want to delete all your containers?)
  • Pipe tab completion to another command (allows you to get tab completion).
  • Support for configuration.

Previewing the Read the Docs documentation locally.

  • Change to the ./docs directory.
  • Run ahoy deps to install the python dependencies.
  • Make changes to any of the .md files.
  • Run ahoy build-docs (This will convert all the .md files to docs)
  • You should have several html files in docs/_build/html directory of which Home.html and index.html are the parent files.
  • For more information on how to compile the docs from scratch visit:


Create self-documenting cli programs from YAML files. Easily wrap bash, grunt, npm, docker, (anything) to standardize your processes and make the lives of the people working on your project better.




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