Ripgrep – Searching for Specific File Types and Beyond


Ripgrep (rg) is a powerful command-line search tool designed for code, providing efficient and fast searching capabilities. When working with large codebases, pinpointing specific information becomes crucial.

In this article, we’ll explore into various Ripgrep features and techniques to enhance your search experience, especially when targeting specific file types.

Searching by File Types

Problem: Locating AWS ARN in Terraform Files

Suppose you need to find occurrences of the AWS ARN ‘123456789012’ within a mono-repo, specifically in Terraform files.

Solution: Using Solution Globbing for File Types

rg '123456789012' -g '*.tf'

This command globs through files with the ‘.tf’ extension (Terraform files) for instances of the specified ARN.

Problem: Searching for API Endpoint in Rust Files

You want to search for the API endpoint “localhost:4531” throughout all Rust files.

Solution: Leveraging Ripgrep’s Types

rg "localhost:4531" --type rust
# or more succinctly
rg "localhost:4531" --trust

Ripgrep provides built-in file types, allowing you to target specific languages or file formats. The `–type` option, in this case, helps focus the search on Rust files.

Additional Ripgrep Tips and Tricks

Case Insensitive Search

rg example
rg -i example

The `-i` flag enables case-insensitive search, broadening your search scope to include variations in capitalization.

Regex Support

Ripgrep supports regular expressions for more complex searches.

rg 'fast\w+'

This example searches for the word ‘fast’ followed by one or more word characters.

Literal String Search (No Regex)

Ripgrep, by default, uses regex for searching. If you want a literal string search, use the `-F` flag.

rg -F 'hello.*'

Show Lines Around the Found Text

You can include context around the found text using options like `-B`, `-A`, and `-C`.

rg "hello" -B 1 # 1 line before
rg "hello" -A 1 # 1 line after
rg "hello" -C 1 # 1 line before and after

Get Statistics of a Search

For assessing the scope of your search, use `–stats` to obtain statistics on the matches.

rg "crypto" --stats

Exclude a Directory

Exclude specific directories from your search using the `-g` flag.

rg crypto -g '!modules/' -g '!pypi/'

Find Files

Locate files containing a specific word.

rg --files | rg cluster

These Ripgrep techniques empower you to conduct precise and efficient searches within your codebase. Whether you’re searching for specific file types or employing advanced search options, Ripgrep proves to be a valuable tool for developers navigating extensive code repositories.

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