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UXY: Adding structure to the UNIX tools
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UXY: Adding structure to the UNIX tools

Treating everything as a string is the way through which the great power and versatility of UNIX tools is achieved. However, sometimes the constant parsing of strings gets a bit cumbersome.

UXY is a tool to manipulate UXY format, which is basically a two-dimensional table that's both human- and machine-readable.

The format is deliberately designed to be as similar to the output of standard tools, such as ls or ps, as possible.

UXY tool also wraps some common UNIX tools and exports their output in UXY format. Along with converters from/to other common data formats (e.g. JSON) it is meant to allow for quick and painless access to the data.


$ uxy ls
TYPE PERMISSIONS LINKS OWNER      GROUP      SIZE    TIME                                  NAME
-    rw-r--r--   1     martin     martin     3204    2019-05-25T15:44:46.371308721+02:00
-    rwxr-xr-x   1     martin     martin     25535   2019-05-25T16:29:28.518397541+02:00   uxy
$ uxy ls | uxy fmt "NAME SIZE"
uxy  11518 
$ uxy ls | uxy fmt "NAME SIZE" | uxy align
NAME      SIZE 7451 
uxy       11518
$ uxy top | uxy fmt "PID CPU COMMAND" | uxy to-json
        "PID": "4704",
        "CPU": "12.5",
        "COMMAND": "top"
        "PID": "2903",
        "CPU": "6.2",
        "COMMAND": "Web Content"
        "PID": "1",
        "CPU": "0.0",
        "COMMAND": "systemd"
$ uxy ls | uxy grep test NAME
TYPE PERMISSIONS LINKS OWNER      GROUP      SIZE    TIME                                  NAME 
-    rw-r--r--   1     martin     martin     45      2019-05-25T16:09:58.755551983+02:00   test.csv 
-    rw-r--r--   1     martin     martin     84      2019-05-25T16:09:58.755552856+02:00   test.txt 
-    rw-r--r--   1     martin     martin     75      2019-05-25T16:09:58.755559998+02:00   test.uxy
$ uxy ps | uxy to-json | jq '.[].CMD'
$ cat test.csv
Moby Dick,14:22
$ cat test.csv | uxy from-csv | uxy align
NAME        TIME
Quasimodo   14:30 
"Moby Dick" 14:22 


UXY tools

All UXY tools take input from stdin and write the result to stdout.

The tools follow the Postel's principle: "Be liberal in what you accept, conservative in what you output." They accept any UXY input, but they try to align the fields in the output to make it more convenient to read.

Wrapped UNIX tools

Any argument that could be passed to the original tool can also be passed to the UXY-wrapped version of the tool.

The exception are the arguments that modify how the output looks like. UXY manages those arguments itself. The only control you have over the output is to either print the default (short) set of result fields (mostly defined as "the most useful info that fits on page") or long set of result fields ("all the information UXY was able to extract"):

$ uxy -l ps

When running with -l option it often happens that the output exceeds the terminal width, gets wrapped and unreadable. In such cases you can either filter out just the fields you are intersed in using fmt subcommand or convert the result to YAML (uxy to-yaml) which happens to render each field on a separate line:

$ uxy -l ifconfig | uxy fmt "NAME         INET-ADDR"
enp0s31f6    ""       
$ uxy -l ifconfig | uxy to-yaml
- ETHER-ADDR: e4:42:a6:f4:1d:02
  INET6-ADDR: fe80::fd53:a17f:12ce:38a8


To test, run ./test script.

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