A node.js command line utility to process text files line by line, for visualization, for searching and categorization.
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linelizer, a node.js program, was written as a changelog analyzer for SproutCore, but it is generally useful for any text file with an itemized list. Out-of-the-box, the program pays attention to lines that begin with a number, for release version label lines, or with an asterisk (*) or a dash (-), for item lines. These do not have to be at the very beginning of the line. Lines which do not begin with either * or - are not processed, and are simply printed to the console unchanged. Release version lines, for example 1.5.3, are printed to the console followed by a line of dashes to produce a markdown style heading.


linelizer uses the node.js colors module, which you may optionally install with:

npm install colors

If you install the colors module, you can have color-themed printing to the console. Otherwise, you'll see only plain text output.

Preparing Input File

Generally, markdown format is assumed. CHANGELOG-SC.md is an example input file from SproutCore.

If the input file is a changelog for a software project, go through the version headings and make sure each one is a simple numeric label. For example, change:




Also, look for blocks of items that do not fall under one of these simple numeric version labels.

You can leave blank lines, text-only labels, the markdown marker lines (e.g., '-----------' or '============'), as these will be skipped.

You can make comments about your fixes with comments, e.g.:

// Added simple numeric version label

/* Beginning of 1.4 section */

Preparing Theme File

The theme.js file contains an example for SproutCore, which goes along with the example CHANGELOG-SC.md file. A theme contains search categories of keywords and an optional color setting for each category. The input file is changed to lower case for searching, so use lowercase keywords in theme.js. An exact match will be made for each keyword against separate words on a line, and there will also be a simple search for the keyword within the line. This means that the keyword test will match test, tests, testing, etc., so emphasize short unique keywords. You may also wish to erect a system of functions that process and parse words from API docs, etc.

For the optional category color names, use those allowed by the node.js colors framework.


linelizer may be run from the command line, with:

node linelizer.js CHANGELOG-SC.md 

(where CHANGELOG-SC.md is the filename of the itemized list text file). This should print to the console all lines of the form '* some text', '- some text', and '1.5.3' -- all other lines will be ignored and will not be printed. The numeric version labels, e.g., 1.5.3 will be printed in markdown style, with a line of dashes following the version line. Here is a segment of expected output:


* Support for high resolution screens.
* Support for IE7 base64 images using MHTML
* Initial support for accessibility (WAI-ARIA)
* Improved SC.Logger, allows log recording and different reporting levels
* Modular loading and whitelisting.
* Improvements and bug fixes in SC.TemplateView and Handlebars helpers
* Added {{bindAttr}}, {{boundIf}}, and {{collection}} helpers
* Fixes to Ace CSS
* IE7 compatibility fixes
* Numerous bug fixes and minor improvements


* We are beginning to move API that we don't believe will be ready before 1.5
* Support for extending classes after they've been created with the

Search targets can be specified as:

node linelizer.js --input=CHANGELOG-SC.md --targets='statecharts and routes, testing, docs'

which would match lines fitting at least partially these theme search categories (three of them: statecharts and routes, testing, and docs).

Running with Colors

If you installed the node.js colors module (npm install colors), then you may turn console log line coloring on with:

node linelizer.js --input=CHANGELOG-SC.md --colors=yes

This would give the same results as before, but would now color-code them, using the colors set per search category in the theme.js file.

Using a Custom Theme

The default theme.js file is for use with the SproutCore changelog. If you are customizing for another project, make your own theme file as the custom_theme.js file shows. Then, set the theme parameter to use it:

node linelizer.js --input=CHANGELOG-SC.md --colors=yes --theme=custom_theme.js

You may provide the full path, as with --theme=/my/full/path/custom_theme.js. Note: provided as --theme=custom_theme.js, the custom_theme.js file must be in the root linelizer directory; './' will be prepended if not provided explicitly with --theme=./custom_theme.js.

Using a Keywords List

If you want to override use of a theme altogether for a simple search, you may provide keywords on the command line, with:

node linelizer.js --input=CHANGELOG-SC.md --colors=yes --keywords=bug,fix,oops

Command Line Parameters

input: input filename, e.g. --input=CHANGELOG-SC.md

targets: search categories, e.g. --targets='statecharts and routes, testing'

colors: print colored lines to console, or not, e.g. --colors=yes

theme: custom theme file, e.g. --theme=custom_theme.js

keywords: custom keywords, e.g. --keywords="handlebars,templates" (comma-delimited)


Jeff Pittman (geojeff)

Maurits Lamers (mauritslamers)


Tests are made in linelizer with the Vows testing framework. If you wish to install Vows for running tests, you may do so with:

npm install vows

Then, you should be able to run all tests with:

vows test/*

or, to see a more complete report, run:

vows test/* --spec

and individual tests, for example, with:

node test/searching.js

TODO Items

  • Add a command line parameter for controlling sorting, which is not done presently.
  • Make the start-of-line markers, presently * and -, a configurable parameter.
  • Review the keywords and search system.
  • Fix the simple keywords search loop to stop on first hit.