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Rubish

Rubish is a shell in Ruby. It is object oriented, and it only uses Ruby's own syntax (no metasyntax of its own). Rubish is pronounced Roobish, as opposed to Rubbish, unlike Bash.

Getting Started

Fire up an irb, and start Rubish

$ irb -rrubish
irb> Rubish.repl
rbh> date
Tue Mar 17 17:06:04 PDT 2009
rbh> uname :svrm
Linux 2.6.24-16-generic #1 SMP Thu Apr 10 13:23:42 UTC 2008 i686

A few tips upfront. Sometimes Rubish could mess up your terminal. If that happens, try hitting C-c and C-d to get back to Bash, then,

$ reset

to reset your terminal. Also, Rubish doesn't have shell history. But it uses the readline library, so you can use its history mechanism. C-r <string> to match a previously entered line with string.

Overview

Rubish's Executable class provides a common API for IO redirection and output processing. The subclasses are,

Command
  A unix command.
Pipe
  A pipe line of unix commands
Awk
Sed
Batch
  An arbitrary block of code. Like subshell.

Command

Rubish REPL takes a line and instance_eval it with the shell object (a Rubish::Context). If the method is undefined, they call is translated into an Executable (Rubish::Command) object with method_missing.

rbh> ls
awk.rb  command_builder.rb  command.rb executable.rb  LICENSE   pipe.rb  README.textile rubish.rb  sed.rb  session.rb   streamer.rb

# ls evaluates to a Rubish::Command object, which
# is a subclass of Rubish::Executable
rbh> ls.inspect
"#<Rubish::Command::ShellCommand:0xb7ac297c @args=\"\", @status=nil, @cmd=\"ls \">"

# you can store a command in an instance variable
rbh> @cmd = ls; nil
nil
# if the shell evaluates to a command, the shell
# calls the exec method on it.
rbh> @cmd # same as @cmd.exec
awk.rb  command_builder.rb  command.rb  executable.rb  LICENSE  pipe.rb  README.textile  rubish.rb  sed.rb  session.rb  streamer.rb
rbh> @cmd
awk.rb  command_builder.rb  command.rb  executable.rb  LICENSE  pipe.rb  README.textile  rubish.rb  sed.rb  session.rb  streamer.rb

You can invoke a command with arguments of String, Symbol, or Array (of String, Symbol, or Array (recursively)). A String argument is taken as it is. A Symbol is translated to a flag (:flag => -flag). Arguments in an Array are treated likewise. Finally, all the arguments are flatten and joined together.

The followings are equivalent,

rbh> ls :l, "awk.rb", "sed.rb"
rbh> ls "-l awk.rb sed.rb"
rbh> ls :l, %w(awk.rb sed.rb)

Pipe

rbh> p { ls ; tr "a-z A-Z" }
AWK.RB
COMMAND_BUILDER.RB
COMMAND.RB
EXECUTABLE.RB
LICENSE
PIPE.RB
README.TEXTILE
RUBISH.RB
SED.RB
SESSION.RB
STREAMER.RB

Pipes are first class values:

rbh> @pipe = p { ls ; tr "a-z A-Z" }; nil
# again, we return nil so @pipe doesn't get executed.
rbh> @pipe
# execute @pipe once
rbh> @pipe
# execute @pipe again

IO redirections

IO redirections are done by methods defined in Rubish::Executable.

Rubish::Executable#i(io=nil)
  Set the $stdin of the executable when
  it is executed. If called without an argument,
  return the executable's IO object.
Rubish::Executable#o(io=nil)
  Ditto for $stdout
Rubish::Executable#err(io=nil)
  Ditto for $stderr


rbh> ls.o("ls-result")
rbh> cat.i("ls-result")
awk.rb
command_builder.rb
command.rb
executable.rb
LICENSE
ls-result
pipe.rb
README.textile
rubish.rb
sed.rb
session.rb
streamer.rb

Rubish can take 4 kinds of objects for IO. String (used as a file path), Integer (used as file descriptor), IO object, or a ruby block. Using the a block for IO, the block receives a pipe connecting it to the command, for reading or writing.

# pump numbers into cat
rbh> cat.i { |p| p.puts((1..5).to_a) }
1
2
3
4
5

# upcase all filenames
rbh> ls.o { |p| p.each_line {|l| puts l.upcase} }
AWK.RB
COMMAND_BUILDER.RB
COMMAND.RB
EXECUTABLE.RB
LICENSE
LS-RESULT
PIPE.RB
README.TEXTILE
RUBISH.RB
SED.RB
SESSION.RB
STREAMER.RB

# kinda funny, pump numbers into cat, then pull
# them out again.
rbh> cat.i { |p| p.puts((1..10).to_a) }.o {|p| p.each_line {|l| puts l.to_i+100 }}
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110

The input and output blocks are executed in their own threads. So careful.

Rubish with Ruby

Rubish is designed so it's easy to interface Unix command with Ruby.

Rubish::Executable#each(&block)
  yield each line of output to a block.
Rubish::Executable#map(&block)
  Like #each, but collect the values returned by
  the block. If no block given, collect each
  line of the output.
Rubish::Executable#head(n=1,&block)
  Process the first n lines of output
  with a block.
Rubish::Executable#tail(n=1,&block)
  Process the last n lines of output
  with a block.
Rubish::Executable#first
  Returns first line of output.
Rubish::Executable#last
  Returns last line of output.

Since this is Ruby, there's no crazy metasyntatic issues when you want to process the output lines.

# print filename and its extension side by side.
rbh> ls.each { |f| puts "#{f}\t#{File.extname(f)}" }
address.rb  .rb
awk.output  .output
awk.rb  .rb
command_builder.rb  .rb
command.rb  .rb
executable.rb   .rb
foo 
foobar  
foo.bar .bar
foo.rb  .rb
LICENSE 
my.rb   .rb
pipe.rb .rb
#README.textile#    .textile#
README.textile  .textile
rubish.rb   .rb
ruby-termios-0.9.5  .5
ruby-termios-0.9.5.tar.gz   .gz
#sed.rb#    .rb#
sed.rb  .rb
session.rb  .rb
streamer.rb .rb
todo    
util

You can execute a command within the each block.

rbh> ls.each { |f| wc(f).exec  }
  64  131 1013 awk.rb
 116  202 1914 command_builder.rb
  56  113 1034 command.rb
 196  563 4388 executable.rb
  24  217 1469 LICENSE
 12  12 132 ls-result
  78  245 1917 pipe.rb
 142  544 3388 README.textile
 107  278 2340 rubish.rb
 46  54 546 sed.rb
  95  206 1870 session.rb
 264  708 5906 streamer.rb

One nifty thing to do is to collect the outputs of nested commands.

rbh> ls.map {|f| stat(f).map }
[["  File: `awk.rb'",
  "  Size: 1013      \tBlocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   regular file",
  "Device: 801h/2049d\tInode: 984369      Links: 1",
  "Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--)  Uid: ( 1000/  howard)   Gid: ( 1000/  howard)",
  "Access: 2009-03-17 21:02:25.000000000 -0700",
  "Modify: 2009-03-17 21:02:13.000000000 -0700",
  "Change: 2009-03-17 21:02:13.000000000 -0700"],
 ["  File: `command_builder.rb'",
  "  Size: 1914      \tBlocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   regular file",
  "Device: 801h/2049d\tInode: 984371      Links: 1",
  "Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--)  Uid: ( 1000/  howard)   Gid: ( 1000/  howard)",
  "Access: 2009-03-17 21:02:25.000000000 -0700",
  "Modify: 2009-03-17 21:02:13.000000000 -0700",
  "Change: 2009-03-17 21:02:13.000000000 -0700"],
...
]

All the above apply to pipes as well. We can find out how many files are in a directory as a Ruby Integer.

rbh> p { ls; wc}
     23      23     248
rbh> p { ls; wc}.map
["     23      23     248\n"]
rbh> p { ls; wc}.map.first.split
["23", "23", "248"]
rbh> p { ls; wc}.map.first.split.first.to_i
23

An big problem with Bash is when you have to process output with weird characters. Ideally, you might want to say,

wc `ls`

But that breaks. You have to say,

find . -maxdepth 1 -print0 | xargs -0 wc

And then again, that only works if you are working with files, and if the command (e.g. wc) accepts multiple arguments. In Rubish, you can use the Executable#q method to tell a command to quote its arguments. Like so,

wc(ls.map).q

Sed and Awk

Rubish has sedish and awkish things that are not quite like sed and awk, but not entirely unlike sed and awk.

Rubish::Sed doesn't implicitly print (unlike real sed). There's actually no option to turn on implicit printing.

Rubish::Sed#line
  the current line sed is processing
Rubish::Sed#p(*args)
  print current line if no argument is given.
Rubish::Sed#s(regexp,str)
  String#sub! on the current line
Rubish::Sed#gs(regexp,str)
  String#gsub! on the current line
Rubish::Sed#q
  quit from sed processing.


rbh> ls.sed { gs /b/, "bee"; p if line =~ /.rbee$/ }
awk.rbee
command_beeuilder.rbee
command.rbee
executabeele.rbee
pipe.rbee
rubeeish.rbee
sed.rbee
session.rbee
streamer.rbee

# output to a file
rbh> ls.sed { p }.o "sed.result"

Rubish::Sed doesn't have the concepts of swapping, appending, modifying, or any interaction between pattern space and hold space. Good riddance. The block is instance_eval by the Sed object, so you can keep track of state using instance variables.

Awk is a lot like sed. But you can associate actions to be done before or after awk processing.

Rubish::Awk#begin(&block)
  block is instance_eval by the Awk object
  before processing.
Rubish::Awk#act(&block)
  blcok is instance_eval by the Awk object for
  each line.
Rubish::Awk#end(&block)
  block is instance_eval at the end of
  processing. Its value is returned as the
  result.

rbh> ls.awk { puts do_something(line)}
# you can have begin and end blocks for awk.
rbh> ls.awk.begin { ...init }.act { ...body}.end { ...final}

You can associate multiple blocks with either awk or sed. Each block is an "action" that's processed in left-to-right order.

rbh> cmd.sed.act { ... }.act { ... }
rbh> cmd.awk.act { ... }.act { ... }

Rubish supports awk/sed-style pattern matching.

.sed(/a/)  # triggers for lines that matches
.sed(/a/,/b/) # triggers for lines between (inclusive)
.sed(1)    # matches line one
.sed(3,:eof) # matches line 3 to end of stream
# ditto with awk
.awk(/a/)


> cat.i {|p| p.puts((1..10).to_a)}.sed(2,4) { p }
2
3
4

Streamer

Rubish::{Sed,Awk} actually share the Rubish::Streamer mixin. Most of their mechanisms are implemented by this mixin. It has two interesting features:

  • Line buffering allows arbitrary peek ahead (of lines). This lets you do what sed can with hold space, but in a much cleaner way.
  • Aggregation is what awk is all about. But Rubish::Streamer implements special aggregators inspired by Common Lisp's Loop facilities.

Let's see line buffering first.

Rubish::Streamer#peek(n=1)
  Return the next n lines (as Array of Strings),
  and put these lines in the stream buffer.
Rubish::Streamer#skip(n=1)
  Skip the next n lines.
Rubish::Streamer#stop(n=1)
  Skip other actions in the streamer, and
  process next line.
Rubish::Streamer#quit(n=1)
  Quit the streaming process.

By the way, isn't it nice that these methods all have four chars?

# print files in groups of 3, separated by blank lines.
rbh> ls.sed { p; puts peek(2); puts ""; skip(3) }

In general, the aggregating methods take a name, a value, and an optional key. The aggregated result is accumulated in an instance variable named by the given name. Each aggregator type basically does foldl on an initial value. The optional key is used to partition an aggregation.

Rubish::Streamer#count(name,key=nil)
  count number of times it's called.
Rubish::Streamer#max(name,val,key=nil)
Rubish::Streamer#min(name,val,key=nil)
Rubish::Streamer#sum(name,val,key=nil)
Rubish::Streamer#collect(name,val,key=nil)
  collect vals into an array.
Rubish::Streamer#hold(name,size,val,key=nil)
  collect vals into a fixed-size FIFO queue.
Rubish::Streamer#pick(name,val,key=nil,&block)
  pass the block old_val and new_val, and
  the value returned by block is saved in
  "name".

Each aggregator's name is used to create a bucket. A reader method named by name can be used to access that bucket. A bucket is a hash of partitioned accumulation keyed by key. The special key nil aggregates over the entire domain (like MySQL's rollup).

# find the length of the longest file name, and
# collect the file names.
ls.awk { f=a[0]; max(:fl,f.length,File.extname(f)); collect(:fn,f)}.end { pp buckets; [fl,fl(""),fn] }
{:fl=>{""=>10, nil=>18, ".textile"=>14, ".rb"=>18},
 :fn=>
  {nil=>
    ["awk.rb",
     "command_builder.rb",
     "command.rb",
     "executable.rb",
     "LICENSE",
     "ls-result",
     "pipe.rb",
     "README.textile",
     "rubish.rb",
     "sed.rb",
     "sed-result",
     "session.rb",
     "streamer.rb"]}}
[18,
 10,
 ["awk.rb",
  "command_builder.rb",
  "command.rb",
  "executable.rb",
  "LICENSE",
  "ls-result",
  "pipe.rb",
  "README.textile",
  "rubish.rb",
  "sed.rb",
  "sed-result",
  "session.rb",
  "streamer.rb"]]

The first printout of hash is from pp buckets. You can see the aggregation partitioned by file extensions (in the case of fl). Note that fl(nil) holds the max length over all the files (the entire domain).

Job Control

All Executable and its subclasses can execute in the background.

Executable::exec!
  Execute, immediately return a Job
Executable::each!(&block)
  Iterate the output in the background.
Executable::map!(acc,&block)
  Accumulate output into a thread-safe
  datastructure with <<

A Job has the following methods,

Job#wait
  Wait for the job to finish. Would block
  the current thread. Raises if computation
  ends abnormally.
Job#stop
  Signal for the job to terminate, then wait
  for it.

In the case of executing a unix command (or pipe), Job#wait would wait for the child process to finish. Job#stop would send SIGTERM to the process, then wait.

# slowcat takes 3 seconds to complete
> @j = slowcat(3).exec!
# return immediately
> @j
#<Job>
> @j.wait # blocks for three seconds

Jobs are registered in a JobControl object,

JobControl#wait(*jobs)
  wait for jobs to complete, then unregister them.
JobControl#waitall
  wait for all jobs to complete
JobControl#jobs
  all the registered (and active) jobs.

> job_control
#<Rubish::JobControl>
> wait(@job)
# == job_control.wait(@job)
> waitall # == job_control.wait

Context and Workspace

Rubish gives you fine control over the execution context of Executables.

  • Contextual IOs are dynamically scoped.
  • Contextual bindings (visible methods) are lexically scoped.

First, contextual IOs

with {
 cmd1.exec
 cmd2.exec
 with { cmd3.exec }.o("output-3")
}.o("output-1-and-2")

At the shell, a Workspace object contains all the visible method bindings you can use (as well as methods from Kernel). Everything else translates to a Rubish::Command instance by Workspace#method_missing. To extend a workspace, just mix in modules.

However, it's usually not a good idea to include a module into the Workspace class, since this extension would be visible in all the Workspace instances, thus risking incompatibilities among different extensions. It's better to extend workspace singletons. The philosophy is, a workspace is your own. You have the freedom to mess it up however you like for your personal conveniences. But the messing-it-up should be localized.

Workspace#derive(*modules)
  clone the current workspace, then extend the clone with modules.

Ruby doesn't have lexical scoping for methods, but you can fake it by creating modules and deriving workspaces on the fly.

with(derive({def foo; ...; end})) {
  ... # outer foo
  with(derive({def foo; ...; end})) {
    ... # inner foo
  }
  ... # outer foo
}

The definition block for derive is used by Module.new(&block) to create a dynamic module that's mixed into a derived Workspace.

Batch Executable

A batch executable is a block of code executed within a context in a thread. This gives you coarse-grained structured concurrency. It's like subshell, but within the same process, and offers finer control over IO and namespace (i.e. visible bindings).

Schematically, a batch job is like,

@job = Thread.new { context.eval { work }}
@job.wait

An example,

@b = batch {
  exec! cmd1, cmd2
  batch {
    exec! cmd3, cmd4
    batch { exec! cmd5 }
  }.exec  
}
@b.exec! # => a job

Batches are nestable, such that each batch has its own job control. A batch finishes when all its jobs are terminated, as well as the jobs of all nested job_controls.

Using batches, cocurrent jobs can be organized structurally into a tree.

A batch is just a wrapper over context, you can specify the execution context of a batch,

# extend the batch context
batch(derive(mod1,mod2)) { ... }

And a batch is an Executable! So all the Executable methods are applicable:

batch { ... }.map { |l| ... }
batch { ... }.tail

Remote Scripting

It's fun to think about.

Happy Hacking!

Credit

Created by Howard Yeh.

Gem made available by Gabriel Horner.

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