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I have a find/grep command that i use to search my projects' codebase, thus:

find folder1 folder2 folderetc -print | awk '{print "\""$0"\""}' | xargs grep -n "search-string"

Something that irritates me regularly is minified javascript & css files, which have everything packed into a single line (due to a probably misguided belief that removing newline characters will make downloading javascript files significantly quicker). With these packed or minified files, there is always a non-packed version, which i want to see in my results. I never want to see the packed version, as it just results in screens and screens of unreadable garbage.

There's no systematic way that i can tell grep to avoid minified or packed files, as there's no naming convention. But it occurred to me that i could filter out results where the line is more than, say, 400 characters long. Is there a way i can do this with grep (or something else?)

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    Also, take a look at ack (or ack-grep). You can include a regex that specifies length and it will do the work of find and xargs for you. Plus it can be made to only search files of specified types. – Paused until further notice. Apr 15 '14 at 11:19
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Yes, there is:

$ echo foobar | awk 'length($0) < 7 && $0~/foo/'
foobar

Replace the echo with your find command and foo with the string to search for. Adjust the 7 to the length you want to filter by.

  • Thanks @dawud - i ended up keeping the search term via grep because i like the way it displays the line number, but tagging the awk onto the end: find folder1 folder2 folderetc -print | awk '{print "\""$0"\""}' |xargs grep -n "search-term" | awk 'length($0) < 400' – Max Williams Apr 15 '14 at 11:13
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You may want to take a look at ack, which is basically grep optimized for programmers. It ignores minified JS and CSS files, as well as any version control system files lying around in your directory.

  • @DennisWilliamson already suggested this in an earlier comment, too. I've still not got round to looking at ack, but thanks for the prod. – Max Williams May 7 '14 at 8:29

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