A simple tool that prints the current working directory of the currently focused window
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xcwd - X current working directory

xcwd is a simple tool that prints the current working directory of the currently focused window.

The main goal is to launch applications directly into the same directory as the focused applications. This is especially useful to open a new terminal or a file explorer.

Disclaimer

This program is basically a hack, but it works well with my setup and I hope it will work for you as well :)

This script can't retrieve the working directory of a "single instance application" nor terminal multiplexer, e.g.:

  • tmux, screen
  • lilyterm
  • konsole
  • urxvtc with urxvtd
  • applications with tabs

The application works with the following terminals:

  • urxvt
  • xterm
  • gnome terminal
  • terminology

How it works

  • Get the handle of the focused window;
  • Try to get the PID of the program using the window's attributes:
    • If _NET_WM_PID is set, xcwd just reads the value;
    • Otherwise it reads the _NET_WM_CLASS and compares it to the name of all the running processes;
  • Find the deepest child process;
  • Print the working directory of this process to stdout.

If one of these steps fail, xcwd prints the content of the $HOME variable.

Requirements

  • Linux or FreeBSD
  • libX11-dev

Installation

Running xwcd

Simply invoke the 'xcwd' command.

Examples:

  • urxvt -cd "`xcwd`"
  • xterm -e "cd `xcwd` && /bin/zsh"
  • gnome-terminal --working-directory="`xcwd`"
  • pcmanfm "`xcwd`"

i3 Configuration

  • bindsym $mod+Shift+Return exec urxvt -cd "`xcwd`"
  • bindsym $mod+Shift+Return exec xterm -e "cd `xcwd` && $SHELL"
  • bindsym $mod+Shift+Return exec gnome-terminal --working-directory="`xcwd`"
  • bindsym $mod+p exec pcmanfm "`xcwd`"