The Code Function

I use a somewhat customised shell environment, with lots of aliases, functions, scripts, etc. I use those as commands without actually stopping to think what they really are.

But sometimes, I need to know. I used to do which <program> and then open the response in a pager or editor, but that can be misleading, since a function with the same name might exist and will take precedence over a script.

I put an end to that by writing the code function:

function code()
    local type=$(builtin type -t $1);
    case $type in
            echo "$1 is an alias";
            builtin alias $1 | sed 's/^[^=]\+=//'
            echo "$1 is a function";
            builtin declare -f $1;
        builtin | keyword)
            echo "$1 is a shell $type";
            builtin help $1
            local path=$(which $1);
            if head -1 $path | grep -q "^#!"; then
                echo "$1 is a script at $path";
                cat $path;
                echo "$1 is a binary at $path";
            echo "I don't know what $1 is";
            return 1

It simply finds the type of executable thing that the shell will use and tries to describe it in its output:

  • For an alias, it prints its definition
  • For a function, it prints its code
  • For a shell builtin, it prints its help text
  • For a script, it prints the source
  • For a binary executable file, it prints nothing.

So now I can happily do something like this:

$ code cp
cp is an alias
'rsync -avz'

$ code code abspath
abspath is a script at /home/jdevera/other/run/bin/abspath
import os.path
import sys

if len(sys.argv) > 1 and os.path.exists(sys.argv[1]):
    print os.path.abspath(sys.argv[1])

I can even run code code! :)

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