4 Sep 2004 chromatic   » (Master)

The Command-Line is My File Chooser:

Like brian d foy, I have a lot of little command-line tools to make my life easier. Today, I wrote two more.

One of the parts of Mac OS X I actually miss (and there are a few) is its open command that examines a named file and attempts to open it in an appropriate application. That's an easy program to write, if you aim for 80% effectiveness, but it's so convenient that when I found myself wishing for it today, I spent five minutes writing it.


use strict; use warnings;

use File::MMagic;

my $file = shift or die "Usage: $0 <filename>\n";

my %subtypes = map { $_ => 1 } 'application/x-zip', 'text/plain', 'text/html'; my %apps = ( 'application/star-office' => 'xooffice', 'application/msword' => 'abiword-2.0', 'application/mozilla' => 'moz_tab', 'image/jpeg' => 'eog', 'image/gif' => 'eog', 'text/html' => 'moz_tab', ); my %exts = ( 'application/star-office', => qr/\.sxw\Z/, 'application/mozilla', => qr/\.html?\Z/i, );

my $mm = File::MMagic->new();

while (my ($subtype, $regex) = each %exts) { $mm->addFileExts( $regex, $subtype ); }

my $type = $mm->checktype_filename( $file ); $type = $mm->checktype_byfilename( $file ) if exists $subtypes{ $type };

die "Unknown type '$type'\n" unless exists $apps{ $type };

fork and exit; exec $apps{$type}, $file, @ARGV;

It's worth factoring out the file types, applications, and subtypes into data somewhere, but when I find myself needing to maintain a bigger list, I'll do that.

You might notice a program called moz_tab. What does that do? I usually have Mozilla running with several tabs on a different virtual desktop. (Now you begin to see what I missed from a real window manager when I used Mac OS X!) I do want to open HTML files in Mozilla, but I don't want to open them in a new browser window or, worse, with a different profile. moz_tab checks to see if there's an existing window and opens a new tab or a window as appropriate.


# create an absolute path DIR=`pwd` FILE="$DIR/$1"

# check if Mozilla is already running /usr/bin/mozilla -remote 'ping()' STATUS=$?

# launch a new tab, if so if [ "$STATUS" == 0 ]; then exec /usr/bin/mozilla -remote "openurl(file://$FILE,new-tab)" fi

# or launch a new window exec /usr/bin/mozilla "file://$FILE"

It doesn't check for an absolute path before absolutifying the path, but if I need that, I'll add another line.

Having both of these programs available has saved me almost a minute today. That doesn't seem like much, but keep in mind that I'd have spent that minute navigating developer-hostile file chooser windows. If I can avoid that by using the developer-friendly command line in a ubiquitous terminal window, my life is much more pleasant.

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