Peter Lyons

ripgrep is the new hotness

October 21, 2016

For any of you command line code searching nerds out there, just wanted to point out the newest addition to a long line of command line filesystem search utilities.

A brief, probably wildly inaccurate history goes something like this:

In the before time, the long long ago, there was grep. It did recursive regex searches and was pretty powerful and effective. Sometimes you would need to pair it with find and xargs to get more precision.

Sometime around 2006 Andy "petdance" Lester got sick of grep searching irrelevant metadata like SCM directories and wrote an updated tool called ack which was smart enough to ignore those by default. It was written in perl and faster than grep. This was touted as "25% fewer characters to type than grep". Read more at

Not satisfied with a 3-character search command, Geoff Greer created the_silver_searcher in 2011. It is written in C and the command is ag (periodic table for silver), thus yet another 33% shorter to type than ack. read more at The Silver Searcher

Recently we've been blessed with the newest candidate for king: ripgrep. ripgrep is written in rust and the command is rg. Read more at BurntSushi/ripgrep.

Give it a whirl: brew install ripgrep.

Interesting that ripgrep was not bold enough to go for the 1-character command. I wonder when someone will release a program called s and attempt to take the throne.

All these tools are useful, but most I think the usernames petdance and burntsushi and project name the silver searcher and ripgrep are fantastic. Great job on naming things!