Searching Todo’s in Code

Posted on 2016-01-11

Happy 2016! It's been a while since I've gotten something up here.

Last week at work I was working on a fairly large refactor of our front-end. Large pieces of code were being moved around and others re-written to be cleaner and more understandable. Throughout this process, I was leaving myself todo's so that I'd remember to fix something later. Problem is, I would rarely ever go back to them. That was until someone on my team shared some bash functions they had written to make following up on those todo's much easier

It's fairly common practice to leave yourself todo's as comments in code such as

# TODO(ryan) fix this later.

That way if someone comes across it in the future, they'll know that whatever is below may not be perfect and that I plan on fixing it at some point. Finding all your todo's later is a different story. That's where some fancy bash functions come in handy.

function ga_code_search() {
    # alias todo='ga_code_search "TODO\(`whoami`\)"'
    SCREEN_WIDTH=`stty size | awk '{print $2}'`
    # Given a spooky name so you can alias to whatever you want. 
    # (cs for codesearch)
    # AG is WAY faster but requires a binary 
    # (try brew install the_silver_searcher)
    AG_SEARCH='ag "$1" | sort -k1 | cat -n | cut -c 1-$SCREEN_WIDTH'

    # egrep is installed everywhere and is the default.
    GREP_SEARCH='egrep -nR "$1" * | sort -k1 | cat -n | cut -c 1-$SCREEN_WIDTH'


    if [ $# -eq 0 ]; then

        echo "Usage: ga_code_search <search> <index_to_edit>"
        echo ""
        echo "Examples:"
        echo "    ga_code_search TODO"
        echo "    ga_code_search TODO 1"
        echo "    ga_code_search \"TODO\\(graham\\)\""
        echo "    ga_code_search \"TODO\\(graham\\)\" 4"
        echo ""        

    if [ $# -eq 1 ]; then
        # There are no command line argumnets.
        eval $SEARCH
        # arg one should be a line from the output of above.
        LINE="$SEARCH | sed '$2q;d' | awk -F':' '{print +\$2 \" \" \$1}' | awk -F' ' '{print \$1 \" \" \$3}'"
        # Modify with your editor here.
        emacs \+`eval $LINE`

If you read through the comments, the_silver_searcher is far faster than grep for searching contents of files. If you don't have it already, I'd highly suggest installing it with brew install the_silver_searcher. If you don't want to, be sure to change SEARCH=$AG_SEARCH to SEARCH=$GREP_SEARCH.

The function itself isn't that interesting. It's when you assign aliases to use this function that things become interesting. Here are the three that were given to me:

# Find todo items that are assigned to me. TODO(ryan)
# You can change `whoami` to whatever you want.
alias todo='ga_code_search "TODO\(`whoami`\)"'

# Find merge conflicts that need to be resolved.
alias conflicts='ga_code_search "<<<<<<<<<"'

# Find anything below your CWD.
# You can now type `cs some_piece_of_code`
alias cs='ga_code_search'

My favorite by far is the first alias todo. Here is some example output when running this command:

> my_project (master): todo
 1  app/models/ # TODO(ryan) probably should memoize this at some point so its faster.
 2  app/models/ # TODO(ryan) make this line prettier
 3  app/templates/strava/index.html:50: <!-- TODO(ryan) move this into its own template file at some point -->

Notice how there are numbers next to each result? That's because you can also open the file right to that todo item by typing todo 1! As the function is written, it will open in emacs. If that's your editor of choice, you'll be set. I'm personally a fan of Sublime Text. There's a way to also open a file in Sublime Text to a specific line number. Simply change the text in red with that in green:

- LINE="$SEARCH | sed '$2q;d' | awk -F':' '{print +\$2 \" \" \$1}' | awk -F' ' '{print \$1 \" \" \$3}'"
+ LINE="$SEARCH | sed '$2q;d' | awk -F':' '{print +\$2 \" \" \$1}' | awk -F' ' '{print \$3 \":\" \$1}'"

- emacs \+`eval $LINE`
+ subl `eval $LINE`

I've only used the functions for a few days now, but it's greatly improved my workflow for getting old todo's done in code. If you'd like to download these scripts, here is the Sublime Text version and the emacs version.

Tags: automation bash sublimetext


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