Some time again, I wrote about how helpful it was to redirect a person web page into Preview. This lets you hold the person web page open, search it, and usually have a greater consumer expertise than fighting
much less) to navigate by means of the data offered there.
man -t apropos | open -fa Preview
Not too long ago, somebody requested me about extra trendy command line interplay, particularly, instructions that use
--help or related to offer their documentation. May that data be opened in Preview as effectively.
So I placed on my pondering hat and set to work. The primary command line utility I made a decision to work with was
screencapture as a result of I’ve been utilizing it pretty closely over the previous few days. Nonetheless, it seems that Apple didn’t construct in an precise assist system past
man. It was a poor option to attempt to use to render however I made a decision to maintain plugging away at it as a result of I wished to have the ability to pipe each
stderr to Preview.
What I got here up with appeared one thing like this, multi function line after all:
bash -c "screencapture -? &> $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt; /usr/sbin/cupsfilter -i textual content/plain -D $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt 2> /dev/null | open -fa Preview"
This all depends on
cupsfilter, which may convert a file of textual content to a printable type, which simply occurs to be readable by Preview as a PDF.
I’m doing fairly a little bit of conglomeration, becoming a member of the stderr and stdout streams utilizing
&> and saving them into my Mac’s
$TMPDIR. That file is cleaned up by the
-D possibility from
I additionally am eradicating the incessant debug messages from
cupsfilter by redirecting them to
/dev/null earlier than opening the print output in Preview.
Please notice that I’m nonetheless utilizing
bash on my foremost system, in order that definitely impacts issues. Since I wanted somewhat of the
bash nuance, I made a decision to run all of it squished as a single
-c command. (I’m certain if I spent sufficient time, I might do all of it in
csh however I actually didn’t need to spend that point.)
As you possibly can see within the earlier screenshot, an older utility meant for
man output doesn’t actually look all that sizzling shoved into Preview by way of
cupsfilter, particularly with line lengths. There’s additionally no good groffing and troffing to make every little thing fairly, the best way you get with
So how might would this kludge work with a contemporary command-line app, equivalent to these produced utilizing the Swift Argument Parser (https://github.com/apple/swift-argument-parser)? First, I constructed a utility that will let me run any command (effectively, as long as it was correctly quoted) with out having to kind all the small print out every time I ran it:
#! /bin/bash $@ &> $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt ; /usr/sbin/cupsfilter -i textual content/plain -D $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt 2> /dev/null | open -fa Preview
This allowed me to name
preview "now --help" to redirect the usual assist message from my
now utility (https://github.com/erica/now) to Preview. Yeah, initially I wished to simply pipe stuff into it however I couldn’t work out methods to get the stderr and the stdout piped collectively right into a single stream, not to mention convert them right into a file type as a result of
cupsfilter doesn’t know or do pipes.
It’s fairly readable and well-formatted as a result of computerized configuration that the Swift Argument Parser offers from my code however it simply feels, , very very plain.
So I went forward and tried to see what would occur if I groffed it up somewhat by passing it by means of
/usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc -c as an alternative of utilizing
bash -c "now --help &> $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt; /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc -c $TMPDIR/previewrendertext.txt" | open -fa preview
And it’s…fairly meh. I attempted mandoc, mdoc, me, mm, ms, and www codecs. All of them got here out the identical, and not one of the SAP tabs actually labored. I believe it seems much more “manny” than the straight printout however the indentation actually bugged:
I made a decision to cease at about this level as there’s actually a time when additional effort simply isn’t value additional funding — so I might throw it on the market and see if this was of curiosity to anybody else.
Let me know.