colorwrapper: Quite obviously, the author had me in mind

Boring. Dull. Uninteresting.

2014-07-17-6m47421-date-pstree 2014-07-17-6m47421-netstat

Exciting! Interesting! Readable!

2014-07-17-6m47421-colorwrapper-01 2014-07-17-6m47421-colorwrapper-02

I get razzed occasionally about my preference for color in … well, in just about anything that passes through the console. I must not be the only one, for as many colorize tools as there are.

colorwrapper — instead of screening program output for colorizable (is that a word?) strings, or requiring you to select a color scheme from a list — uses an executable preset profile to catch and colorize the results of a command. (I’m avoiding the word “wrapper” here, just for clarity.)

I don’t know how to explain that properly. But here’s a snippet from the profile that produced the colorized version of pstree, above.

path /bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin:
ifnarg -G:-U
base cyan
digit green+:default
match white:default |
match white:default )
match white:default init

I trimmed away a little bit for the sake of space. But I think you get the idea — the profile tells colorwrapper what to pluck out, and where the colors appear.

By default, colorwrapper comes with a huge list of profiles for commonplace Unix-y commands, and if you take a little time you should be able to either edit those to your particular color scheme, or to produce some of your own. For what I’ve seen of colorwrapper, the markdown is fairly intuitive.

This is something we’ve seen before, in programs like rainbow. Compare what rainbow does with ping, to what colorwrapper does:


Not everything is green and cyan with colorwrapper, by the way. It depends on the tool and the profile. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A few caveats, because there always are some: colorwrapper is pushing toward five years without an apparent update; I mention that out of a sense of obligation and because I know there are some folks who won’t touch a program older than a few weeks, regardless of how well it works. Whatever. โ“

That does suggest though that some profiles (I didn’t check them all) might not be current with what the tool can do. The author talks about colorizing top, for example, and as we all know, top has its own built-in color scheme system. We all know that, right? RIGHT?! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Second, I am sure you noticed that there was a slight difference between the output of straight pstree and colorwrapper’s version of pstree. You might want to step through the profiles you like best, to make sure the output you prefer is what appears with colorwrapper.

Also, if you want to give colorwrapper a test run before committing, notice that the make command has an option for localinstall which will drop everything into $HOME/.cw … which makes it easier to get rid of, when you realize K.Mandla is stark raving mad. ๐Ÿ™„

I’ll leave the rest for you to discover. The home page for colorwrapper is particularly sparse, but the bundled documentation is quite good. Watch for headers and footers too, which throw an added color element into the equation. Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

3 thoughts on “colorwrapper: Quite obviously, the author had me in mind

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