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  • An “aha” moment; grep for Windows

An “aha” moment; grep for Windows

For the past few years, I’ve slowly migrated away from my beloved Linux development environment to the at-first dreaded Windows platform. Mind you, this move was not by choice; I’m just following the money. As Winston Zeddmore once said; “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say”. I’m down with that.

In some cases, I very much enjoy the GUI tools. Eclipse (of course), Winmerge, Notepad++, and the Cmake GUI come to mind right away. In others cases, the GUI thing irritates the living daylights out of me. Take grep for instance — my God do I miss grep! Windows Search, no matter how nifty, is not a tool for tearing through all the makefiles in your project looking for a string like “$$HACK”, and doing so in seconds or fractions thereof. Eclipse search functionality is very powerful, but for the “down and dirty” tasks, a bit like smashing a peanut with a sledgehammer. Before you say it though, I’m not interested in installing Cygwin, the GNU utilities for windows, or the MKS toolkit. This is not a religious decision on my part; I want my development workstation as lean and stable and uniform with respect to OS as I can keep it, because I’d rather not rely on utilities that the client may not have on their workstation.

So all the aforementioned aside, I stumbled upon the “findstr” command on Windows last year. It’s apparently been there all along, I was simply unaware of it. It’s essentially grep for Windows, and although it may be a bit dumber than it’s UNIX counterpart, all the basics are present.

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