Tag Archives: hex

beav: The binary editor and viewer

Back to hex editors for a short bit, this time with beav.


beav is in both Debian and AUR, but the AUR page points at the Debian package page. Whenever that happens, I think the Debian team is more or less keeping a program alive. :\

That might be the case, since building beav in Arch requires a huge list of patches. And since nobody seems to have a source page available, I’ll have to assume this is it. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Regardless, beav is available to both OSes, and quite a few more. As you can see by the help screen, much of what beav accepts as commands appear to be adopted from emacs. Don’t let that color your opinion though.

I found working with beav to be a little difficult, mostly because its navigation controls are obscure. Rather than employ the arrow keys, beav uses the CTRL key plus B, F, N and P — back, forward, next and previous, I guess.

That’s neither here nor there, but it does mean you not only have to keep the CTRL key pressed to move throughout a file, but you’ll be dancing between those keys — which are not colocated on a traditional QWERTY keyboard — until you get to where you want to go.

I don’t think that’s an emacs standard (Jason H says it is), and I find it very cumbersome when compared with one-handed arrow keys, or even just H-J-K-L. I’d hate to be using a micro-keyboard or nonstandard layout with beav. I don’t think I could get much done.

Compared with some of the other hex editors I’ve seen so far, I can only give beav fair-to-middlin’ marks. I understand that beav supposedly offers a little more flexibility in editing obscure file types or esoteric data formats, and that could be a plus.

But I think I would find it very difficult to adjust to. And then of course, there’s no color. ๐Ÿ˜‰

hexer: Deja vu — or should I say, 64:65:6a:61:20:76:75

I really thought I had covered more hex editors than Google or DuckDuckGo say that I have. Feels like I’ve seen some of these before. … ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

No matter, here’s another one. I know we just had hexedit yesterday, but here’s hexer:


Hey, look at that: color! Well, technically speaking still a two-tone, but blue and white works for me.

hexer has vi-like navigation, so if you’re keeping score at home, that’s one more for the vi team. I stopped keeping track quite a while ago, so don’t ask me what the score is. ๐Ÿ™„

Feeding :help into the command line will get you the man page, which I always like. Other commands, as you might expect, follow vi-style behavior.

The only real shortcoming I could see is, when you leave hexer, the terminal colors don’t revert. So everything was still blue and white for me.

That’s not hard to fix, but it seems like an oversight. Perhaps I’ll mention it as a teeny-tiny bug. …

Of course, the H section isn’t finished yet, so maybe there are some more hex editors out there that need attention. One a day, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰

hexedit: You can guess what it does

I do not find fault with the name “hexedit.”


Heck, that’s what I’d call it, if it was my program.

hexedit has been around longer than some migraines, if the home page is to be believed.

Fills the allotted space, has sane and reasonable controls, quits with CTRL+C and quits-with-save on CTRL+X.

Best of all, pressing the help key (F1) drops you into the man page. I love it when a program does that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As far as hex editors go, I can only assume this is as functional and error free as some others … bviplus and gitview come to mind.

But like I said a long time ago, hex editors are like web crawlers to me. It’s so rare that I need one that I rarely bother keeping them installed more than a few minutes.

This one might be worth remembering though, for those few times. ๐Ÿ˜‰

biew: Or is it beye?

Sometimes I find tools I love, that I have almost zero use for. beye is one of those.

2013-03-07-solo-2150-beye-01 2013-03-07-solo-2150-beye-02 2013-03-07-solo-2150-beye-03 2013-03-07-solo-2150-beye-04

I could spend an hour flipping switches in beye (or is it biew?) just to see how things look in text mode, binary, hex or disassembled.

I wouldn’t get much done, but it would be entertaining.

Seriously though, beye/biew has a plus-or-minus 20-year history and plenty of options.

Controls should be fairly easy to figure out, with most everything arranged along the F-keys, a la Midnight Commander.

Although I did have to adjust my $TERM variable before it would run. Not sure why …

I think I will keep beye on board for a while. One never knows when it may become necessary to view a file in four different ways. … ๐Ÿ˜‰

bviplus: A vi-ish hex editor

Oh goodie: Another utility that borrows commands and keypresses from the vi arena!

I’m not being flippant; I think it’s important to point out toys and gadgets that follow the footsteps of a 35-plus-year-old application.

When you can brag that your application influenced software over the span of three-and-a-half decades, you can shout me down. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enough chatter. Here’s bviplus (which I should probably mention, describes itself as a fork of bvi).

2013-01-11-solo-2150-bviplus-01 2013-01-11-solo-2150-bviplus-02

As you can see by the help screen, bviplus makes a serious effort to keep touch with its vi heritage.

But I have to make a confession at this point: I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed a hex editor in the past decade.

Not that bviplus (or bvi) is somehow unnecessary. When you need one, it’s a godsend.

But this definitely falls into the category of “nifty utility that I will probably not install, until I actually need it.” ๐Ÿ˜