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howdoi - a unix code search tool

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howdoi - a code search tool

Are you a hack programmer? Do you find yourself constantly Googling for how to do basic programing tasks?

Suppose you want to know how to format a date in bash. Why open your browser and read through blogs when you can just...

$ howdoi format string bash
> [foo@bar ~]$date --date "2012-02-13" +%s
> 1329055200
> [foo@bar ~]$date --date @1329055200
> Mon Feb 13 00:00:00 EST 2012
> [foo@bar ~]$date --date @1329055200 +"%Y-%m-%d"
> 2012-02-13

howdoi will answer all sorts of queries

$ howdoi print stack trace python
> import traceback
> try:
>     1/0
> except:
>     print '>>> traceback <<<'
>     traceback.print_exc()
>     print '>>> end of traceback <<<'
> traceback.print_exc()

$ howdoi convert mp4 to animated gif
> video=/path/to/video.avi
> outdir=/path/to/output.gif
> mplayer "$video" \
>         -ao null \
>         -ss "00:01:00" \  # starting point
>         -endpos 10 \ # duration in second
>         -vo gif89a:fps=13:output=$outdir \
>         -vf scale=240:180

$ howdoi create tar archive
> tar -cf backup.tar --exclude "www/subf3" www


pip install howdoi


brew install


python install


howdoi [-h] [-p POS] [-a] [-l] QUERY [QUERY ...]

code search tool

positional arguments:
  QUERY              the question to answer

optional arguments:
  -h, --help         show this help message and exit
  -p POS, --pos POS  select answer in specified position (default: 1)
  -a, --all          display the full text of the answer
  -l, --link         display only the answer link



  • Requires Python <= 2.7 (pull requests for a Python 3 version certainly accepted)
  • Requires PyQuery
  • Special thanks to Rich Jones (@miserlou) for the idea
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