Tools that work with ack

AckMate

Users of TextMate, the programmer's editor for the Mac, can use the AckMate plugin by Trevor Squires:

TextMate users know just how slow its "Find in Project" can be with large source trees. That's why you need "ack-in-project" — a TextMate bundle that uses the super-speedy "ack" tool to search your code FAST. It gives you beautiful, clickable results just as fast as "ack" can find them. Check it out at: https://github.com/protocool/ackmate

vim integration

ack.vim provides an interface between ack and the vim text editor. For example, you can call :Ack foo, which will run ack and load ack's results into a vim buffer for manipulation and navigation.

ack.vim is available at the official vim website at http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=2572

Emacs integration

There are at least four different Emacs modes for supporting ack here at the Emacs Wiki: http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/Ack

Note: Be careful of any solution that defaults you to using --all.

hhighlighter

hhlighter is a wrapper around ack to make it easy to highlight words in a file. Invoke it like

cat file | h foo bar bat
and each of the three words "foo", "bar" and "bat" will be highlighted as a different color. See https://github.com/paoloantinori/hhighlighter

Other grep-like tools

There are many ways to search source code that are more flexible and tuned to programmers than straight grep. I suggest you take a look at some of these alternatives, for they may suit your needs better than ack. If you have any suggestions to add to this list, please let me know at andy@petdance.com.

Ag, the Silver Searcher

Geoff Greer says "Ag is like ack, but better. It’s fast. It’s damn fast. The only thing faster is stuff that builds indices beforehand, like Exuberant Ctags." Geoff has also created a fork of AckMate that uses Ag instead of ack.

https://github.com/ggreer/the_silver_searcher

grin

"A grep program configured the way I like it", written in Python by Robert Kern.

http://pypi.python.org/pypi/grin

rak

A straight clone of ack, with some visual tweaks, written in Ruby by Daniel Lucraft.

http://rak.rubyforge.org/

glark

The biggest departure from ack, glark adds many more features like the ability to AND and OR your patterns. It's written in Ruby by Jeff Page.

http://glark.sourceforge.net

nak

An implementation of ack, written in Node.js. It has inspiration from Ag, and is optimized for speed, not features. It's completely asynchronous. Written by Garen J. Torikian.

https://github.com/gjtorikian/nak

pss

pss is an ack clone written in Python by Eli Bendersky. It's written in pure Python with no additional modules necessary.

https://bitbucket.org/eliben/pss

vack

vack is visual ack for the Mac.

http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/vack/

Indexing tools

Sometimes when you're looking at a large codebase, it makes sense to see everything as a whole. An indexing tool may help you out.

ctags

ctags is a program almost as old as time itself. When run against a codebase, ctags indexes various elements of the code, such as variables and functions. This lets your editor or other tools use the tags index to jump quickly to that element.

The most common ctags implementation is Exuberant ctags: http://ctags.sourceforge.net/

cscope

Cscope is a developer's tool for browsing source code. Cscope was part of the official AT&T Unix distribution for many years, and has been used to manage projects involving 20 million lines of code. It also can integrate with vim and Emacs.

http://cscope.sourceforge.net/

CodeQuery

CodeQuery indexes and queries C, C++, Java and Python source code. It builds upon the databases of cscope and ctags, mentioned above, and provides a nice GUI tool.

https://github.com/ruben2020/codequery

Code Search

Russ Cox, the guy that wrote Google's CodeSearch engine, wrote an article about how it worked and released an implementation in Go.

https://code.google.com/p/codesearch/

OpenGrok

OpenGrok is a fast and usable source code search and cross reference engine. It helps you search, cross-reference and navigate your source tree.

http://hub.opensolaris.org/bin/view/Project+opengrok/

GNU GLOBAL

GNU GLOBAL is a source code tagging system that works the same way across diverse environments (emacs, vi, less, bash, web browser, etc). You can locate objects in source files and move there easily. It is similar to ctags or etags but is different from them at the point of independence of any editor.

http://www.gnu.org/software/global/

beagrep

Beagrep is a combination of a desktop search engine named beagle and grep. Use the search engine first, then use grep on the small subset of possibly matching files, thus it is very fast and useful for code reading in huge source trees.

http://baohaojun.github.io/beagrep.html