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README.md

fast-p

Quickly find and open a pdf among a collection of thousands of unsorted pdfs through fzf (fuzzy finder)

Installation on Unix or Linux based systems

  1. Requirements. Make sure the following requirements are satisfied:

    • install pdftotext. This comes with the texlive distribution on linux, On ubuntu, sudo apt-get install poppler-utils .
    • install fzf: https://github.com/junegunn/fzf
    • install GNU grep, ag (silver searcher).
  2. Install binary. Do either one of the two steps below:

    • Compile from source with go and go get. With a working golang installation, do go get github.com/bellecp/fast-p It will fetch the code and its dependencies, compile and create an executable fast-p in the /bin folder of your go installation, typically ~/go/bin. Make sure the command fast-p can be found (for instance, add ~/go/bin to your $PATH.)
    • Or: Use the precompiled binary for your architecture. Download the binary that corresponds to your architecture at https://github.com/bellecp/fast-p/releases and make sure that the command fast-p can be found. For instance, put the binary file fast-p in ~/custom/bin and add export PATH=~/custom/bin:$PATH to your .bashrc.
  3. Tweak your .bashrc. Add the following code to your .bashrc

p () {
    open=xdg-open   # this will open pdf file withthe default PDF viewer on KDE, xfce, LXDE and perhaps on other desktops.

    ag -U -g ".pdf$" \
    | fast-p \
    | fzf --read0 --reverse -e -d $'\t'  \
        --preview-window down:80% --preview '
            v=$(echo {q} | tr " " "|"); 
            echo -e {1}"\n"{2} | grep -E "^|$v" -i --color=always;
        ' \
    | cut -z -f 1 -d $'\t' | tr -d '\n' | xargs -r --null $open > /dev/null 2> /dev/null
}

  • You may replace ag -U -g ".pdf$" with another command that returns a list of pdf files.
  • You may replace open=... by your favorite PDF viewer, for instance open=evince or open=okular.

Installation on OSX with homebrew

  1. Install homebrew and run
brew install bellecp/fast-p/fast-pdf-finder

The above brew formula is experimental. Please report any issues/suggestions/feedback at https://github.com/bellecp/fast-p/issues/11

  1. Tweak your .bashrc. Add the following code to your .bashrc
p () {
    local open
    open=open   # on OSX, "open" opens a pdf in preview
    ag -U -g ".pdf$" \
    | fast-p \
    | fzf --read0 --reverse -e -d $'\t'  \
        --preview-window down:80% --preview '
            v=$(echo {q} | gtr " " "|"); 
            echo -e {1}"\n"{2} | ggrep -E "^|$v" -i --color=always;
        ' \
    | gcut -z -f 1 -d $'\t' | gtr -d '\n' | gxargs -r --null $open > /dev/null 2> /dev/null
}

  • You may replace ag -U -g ".pdf$" with another command that returns a list of pdf files.
  • You may replace open=... by your favorite PDF viewer, for instance open=evince or open=okular.

Remark: On OSX, we use the command line tools gcut, gxargs, ggrep, gtr which are the GNU versions of the tools cut, xargs, grep, tr. This way, we avoid the specifics of the versions of these tools pre-installed on OSX, and the same .bashrc code can be used for both OSX and GNU Linux systems.

Usage

Use the command p to browse among the PDF files in the current directory and its subdirectories.

The first run of the command will take some time to cache the text extracted from each pdf. Further runs of the command will be much faster since the text extraction will only apply to new pdfs.

How to clear the cache?

To clear the cache (which contains text extracted from PDF), you may safely remove the file ~/.cache/fast-p-pdftotext-output/fast-p_cached_pdftotext_output.db, or
~/.cache/fast-p_cached_pdftotext_output.db in older version.

Launch with keyboard shortcut in Ubuntu

On Ubuntu desktop (tested in 18.04), one may add a keyboard shortcut to launch a new terminal running the p command right away. With the following script, the new terminal window will automatically close after choosing a PDF.

Create a file ~/.fast-p-rc with

source .bashrc
p;
sleep 0.15; exit;

and in Ubuntu Settings/Keyboard, add a custom shortcut that runs the command gnome-terminal -- sh -c "bash --rcfile .fast-p-rc".

See it in action

illustration of the p command

Is the historical bash code still available?

Yes, see https://github.com/bellecp/fast-p/blob/master/p but using the go binary as explained above is recommended for speed and interoperability.

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