Some time again, I wrote about how helpful it was to redirect a person web page into Preview. This lets you preserve the person web page open, search it, and customarily have a greater consumer expertise than fighting
much less) to navigate by way of the data offered there.
man -t apropos | open -fa Preview
Lately, somebody requested me about extra fashionable command line interplay, particularly, instructions that use
--help or related to supply their documentation. May that data be opened in Preview as effectively.
So I placed on my considering 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 couple of 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 primary system, in order that definitely impacts issues. Since I wanted just a little of the
bash nuance, I made a decision to run all of it squished as a single
-c command. (I’m positive 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 may see within the earlier screenshot, an older utility meant for
man output doesn’t actually look all that scorching 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 way in which you get with
So how might would this kludge work with a contemporary command-line app, resembling these produced utilizing the Swift Argument Parser (https://github.com/apple/swift-argument-parser)? First, I constructed a utility that may let me run any command (effectively, as long as it was correctly quoted) with out having to sort 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 how you can 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 because of the computerized configuration that the Swift Argument Parser gives 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 just a little by passing it by way 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 feel it seems to be 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.