Matt Menzenski
Matt Menzenski's Blog

Matt Menzenski's Blog

Some Oddball Shell & Vim Tricks I've Acquired Over the Years

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Matt Menzenski
·Jan 11, 2022·

4 min read

Hello, hashnode!

My name is Matt, and I'm an engineering manager. It's a 2022 resolution of mine to try to write more. I am taking the easy way out with my first post — rather than spend a bunch of time writing on some topic, I'm just dumping a bunch of one liners and tricks I've acquired over the last couple years into this post.

Maybe this will be useful, maybe it will not be, but it accomplishes a goal of publishing my first blog post in 2022 so I'm doing it regardless!


Some of these expect that you have the following tools installed:


Generate a UUID

Add this function to your .zshrc / .bash_profile to generate a UUID on-the-fly:

get-uuid () {
    curl -k -s "" | sed 's/[^[:print:]\r\t]/ /g'

To use it, do e.g. get-uuid | pbcopy (on a Mac) to generate a UUID and put in on your clipboard.


ruby -ryaml -e "p YAML.load(" < myfile.yml


Run kubectl diff on all files containing a search term:

for s in $(grep -rl searchterm ./dir/subdir); do kubectl --context=context diff -f $s; done;

Get colored (and foldable) kubectl diff output via vim (based on this GitHub issue comment):

vdiff () {
    /usr/bin/vim -R -c 'set syntax=diff' -;

Use like kubectl --context=$CONTEXT -f path/to/manifest.yaml | vdiff


Turn one column of a CSV file into a properly quoted JSON array of strings:

csvcut -c 3 file.csv | jq --raw-input --slurp 'split("\n")[1:-1]'


Change between multiple installed JDK versions. Use like jdk 13 or jdk 1.8 (from AdoptOpenJDK on GitHub).

jdk() {
    local VERSION=$1
    export JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v"$VERSION");
    java -version


Remove files from git if they're present in the .gitignore file (from StackOverflow):

git rm --cached `git ls-files -i -X .gitignore`

List all files which have been committed in the current git repository:

git ls-tree --full-tree -r --name-only HEAD

Get the default branch name for a repository (substitute organization for your organization name):

get-default-branch () {
    gh repo view organization/"$1" --json defaultBranchRef | jq --raw-output ''

Clone a git repository if it does not exist locally, or navigate into it and pull latest default branch if it does exist locally. This uses the above get-default-branch function:

gclone () {
    local REPOSITORY="$1"
    if [ -d $REPO_PATH ]
        cd "$REPO_PATH"
        DEFAULT_BRANCH=$(get-default-branch "$REPOSITORY")
        git checkout "$DEFAULT_BRANCH"
        git fetch --all && git reset --hard origin/"$DEFAULT_BRANCH"
        cd "$WORKING_DIR"
        git clone "$REPOSITORY" && cd "$REPO_PATH"

Use it like:gclone my_service.


Alias the npm version command to not do git tags, and to skip any preversion scripts that might be in place in the repository (I don't want to wait for a test suite to run just to increment the version!).

vermp() {
    npm version "$1" --no-git-tag-version --ignore-scripts

Use like vermp major vermp minor vermp patch.


Find rows in one file which contain values present in another file:

Assume ids.txt looks like:


And data.txt looks like:

5871794^350182^300003^BFT CNTY SCHOOL^300009^0^BOND-1033^50^0^50^0.03171^1.59^0^1.59^0
5871795^350181^300000^5% Interest Pen^300000^0^5% INTEREST PENALTY^270^0^270^0^0^0^0^0
awk -F '^' 'NR==FNR {id[$1]; next} $1 in id' ids.txt data.txt > data_containing_ids.txt


Put this in your .zshrc file to improve performance of pasting into the terminal, as by default in o-m-z it's very slow, and scales linearly with length of pasted input.

pasteinit() {
  zle -N self-insert url-quote-magic

pastefinish() {
  zle -N self-insert $OLD_SELF_INSERT
zstyle :bracketed-paste-magic paste-init pasteinit
zstyle :bracketed-paste-magic paste-finish pastefinish


If you are a weirdo like me who sometimes edits an orgmode file outside emacs, and you want to run the org-tangle blocks that it contains, use this shell function. Use like tangle

tangle () {
    emacs --batch -l org "$1" -f org-babel-tangle


Strip the BSON ISODate wrapper from a MongoDB document if you copied a document as BSON rather than as text/JSON:


Open all files (in tab pages) that contain a search term: ( -p for tab pages, -o/-O for horizontal/vertical windows or whatever).

 vim -p `grep -rl 'searchterm' ./dir --color=never`

Prettify XML in vim:

:%!xmllint --format %

Prettify JSON in vim:

%!jq '.'
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