Zsh: univ_open() update (new dir_info() script)

I’ve been heavily using the univ_open() shell function (a universal file/directory opener from the command line) that I wrote for many months now, and have made some slight changes to it. It’s all PUBLIC DOMAIN like my other stuff, so you have my blessing if you want to make it better (if you do, send me a link to your version or something).

What’s new? The code that prettily lists all directory contents after entering it has been cut off and made into its own function, called “dir_info”. So there are 2 functions now: univ_open(), which opens any file/directory from the commandline according to predefined preferred apps (dead simple to do, as you can see in the code), and dir_info(), a prettified “ls” replacement that also lists helpful info like “largest file” and the number of files in the directory.

univ_open() has not changed much — the only new stuff are the helpful error messages.

dir_info() should be used by itself from a shell alias (I’ve aliased all its 8 modes to quick keys like “ll”, “l”, “lk”, “lj”, etc. for quick access in ~/.zshrc). For example, “l” is aliased to “dir_info 1”. Here is the code below for dir_info():


# dir_info(), a function that acts as an intelligent "ls". This function is
# used by univ_open() to display directory contents, but it should additionally
# be used by itself. By default, you can call dir_info() without any arguments,
# but there are 8 presets that are hardcoded below (presets 0-7). Thus, you
# could do "dir_info [0-7]" to use those modes. You sould alias these modes to
# something easy like "ll" or "l", etc. from your ~/.zshrc. For a detailed
# explanation of the 8 presets, see the code below.

dir_info() {
    # colors
    c1="33[1;32m" # bright green
    c2="33[1;33m" # bright yellow
    c3="33[1;34m" # bright blue
    c4="33[1;36m" # bright cyan
    c5="33[1;35m" # bright purple
    c6="33[1;31m" # bright red
    # only pre-emptively give newline to prettify listing of directory contents
    # if the directory is not empty
    [[ $(ls -A1 | wc -l) -ne 0 ]] && echo
    countcolor() {
        if [[ $1 -eq 0 ]]; then
            echo $c4
        elif [[ $1 -le 25 ]]; then
            echo $c1
        elif [[ $1 -le 50 ]]; then
            echo $c2
        elif [[ $1 -le 100 ]]; then
            echo $c3
        elif [[ $1 -le 200 ]]; then
            echo $c5
            echo $c6

    sizecolor() {
        case $1 in
                echo $c0
                echo $c1
                echo $c2
                echo $c3
                echo $c5
                echo $c4


    # only show information if the directory is not empty
    if [[ $(ls -A1 | wc -l) -gt 0 ]]; then
        size=$(ls -Ahl | head -n1 | head -c -2)
        suff=$(ls -Ahl | head -n1 | tail -c -2)
        size_num=$(echo -n $size | cut -d " " -f2 | head -c -1)
        ctag_size=$(sizecolor $suff)
        # show variation of `ls` based on given argument
        case $1 in
            0) # simple
                ls -Chs -w $COLUMNS --color | tail -n +2
            1) # verbose
                ls -Ahl --color | tail -n +2
            2) # simple, but sorted by size (biggest file on bottom with -r flag)
                ls -ChsSr -w $COLUMNS --color | tail -n +2
            3) # verbose, but sorted by size (biggest file on bottom with -r flag)
                ls -AhlSr --color | tail -n +2
            4) # simple, but sorted by time (newest file on bottom with -r flag)
                ls -Chstr -w $COLUMNS --color | tail -n +2
            5) # verbose, but sorted by time (newest file on bottom with -r flag)
                ls -Ahltr --color | tail -n +2
            6) # simple, but sorted by extension
                ls -ChsX -w $COLUMNS --color | tail -n +2
            7) # verbose, but sorted by extension
                ls -AhlX --color | tail -n +2
                ls --color

        # show number of files or number of shown vs hidden (as a fraction),
        # depending on which version of `ls` was used
        denom=$(ls -A1 | wc -l)
        # redefine numer to be a smaller number if we're in simple mode (and
        # only showing non-dotfiles/non-dotdirectories
        $simple && numer=$(ls -1 | wc -l)
        ctag_count=$(countcolor $denom)

        if [[ $numer != $denom ]]; then
            if [[ $numer -gt 1 ]]; then
                echo -n "\nfiles $numer/$ctag_count$denom$ce | "
                dotfilecnt=$(($denom - $numer))
                [[ $dotfilecnt -gt 1 ]] && s="s" || s=""
                echo -n "\nfiles $numer/$ctag_count$denom$ce ($dotfilecnt dotfile$s) | "
            echo -n "\nfiles $ctag_count$denom$ce | "

        if [[ $suff != "0" ]]; then
            echo -n "size $ctag_size$size_num $suff$ce"
            echo -n "size$ctag_size nil$ce"

        # Find the biggest file in this directory.
        # We first use ls to list all contents, sorted by size; then, we strip
        # all non-regular file entries (such as directories and symlinks);
        # then, we truncate our result to kill all newlines with 'tr' (e.g., if
        # there is a tiny file (say, 5 bytes) and there are directories and
        # symlinks, it's likely that the file is NOT the biggest "file"
        # according to 'ls', which means that the output up to this point will
        # have trailing whitespaces (thus making the next command 'tail -n 1'
        # fail, even though there is a valid file!)); we then fetch the last
        # line of this list, which is the biggest file, then make it so that
        # all multiple-continguous spaces are replaced with a single space --
        # and using this new property, we can safely call 'cut' by specifying
        # the single space " " as a delimiter to finally get our filename.
        big=$(ls -lSr | sed 's/^[^-].\+//' | tr -s "\n" | tail -n 1 | sed 's/ \+/ /g' | cut -d " " -f9-)
        if [[ -f "$big" ]]; then
            # since $suff needs a file size suffix (K,M,G, etc.), we reassign
            # $big_size here from pure block size to human-readable notation
            # make $big_size more "accurate" (not in terms of disk space usage,
            # but in terms of actual number of bytes inside the file) if it is
            # smaller than 4096 bytes
            if [[ $(du -b "$big" | cut -f1) -lt 4096 ]]; then
                big_num="$(du -b "$big" | cut -f1)"
                big_num=$(ls -hs "$big" | cut -d " " -f1 | sed 's/[a-zA-Z]//')
                suff=$(ls -hs "$big" | cut -d " " -f1 | tail -c -2)
            ctag_size=$(sizecolor "$suff")
            echo " | \`$big' $ctag_size$big_num $suff$ce"

Here is the updated univ_open() shell function:


# univ_open() is intended to be used to pass either a SINGLE valid FILE or
# DIRECTORY. For illustrative purposes, we assume "d" to be aliased to
# univ_open() in ~/.zshrc. If optional flags are desired, then either prepend
# or append them appropriately. E.g., if you have jpg's to be opened by eog,
# then doing "d -f file.jpg" or "d file.jpg -f" will be the same as "eog -f
# file.jpg" or "eog file.jpg -f", respectively. The only requirement when
# passing flags is that the either the first word or last word must be a valid
# filename.

# univ_open requires the custom shell function dir_info() (`ls` with saner
# default args) to work properly

univ_open() {
    if [[ -z $@ ]]; then
        # if we do not provide any arguments, go to the home directory
        cd && dir_info # ("cd" w/o any arguments goes to the home directory)
    elif [[ -f $1 || -f ${=@[-1]} ]]; then
        # if we're here, it means that the user either (1) provided a single valid file name, or (2) a number of
        # commandline arguments PLUS a single valid file name; use of the $@ variable ensures that we preserve all the
        # arguments the user passed to us

        # $1 is the first arg; ${=@[-1]} is the last arg (i.e., if user passes "-o -m FILE" to us, then obviously the
        # last arg is the filename
        # we use && and || for simple ternary operation (like ? and : in C)
        [[ -f $1 ]] && file=$1 || file=${=@[-1]}
        case $file:e:l in
                soffice -writer $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                soffice -impress $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                firefox $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                evince -f $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                eog $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                gimp $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                mplayer $@
                timidity $@
                smplayer $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                djview $@
                wine $@ &>/dev/null & disown
                vim $@
    elif [[ -d $1 ]]; then
        # if the first argument is a valid directory, just cd into it -- ignore
        # any trailing arguments (in zsh, '#' is the same as ARGC, and denotes the number of arguments passed to the
        # script (so '$#' is the same as $ARGC)
        if [[ $# -eq 1 ]]; then
            cd $@ && dir_info
            # if the first argument was a valid directory, but there was more than 1 argument, then we ignore these
            # trailing args but still cd into the first given directory
            cd $1 && dir_info
            # i.e., show arguments 2 ... all the way to the last one (last one has an index of -1 argument array)
            echo "\nuniv_open: argument(s) ignored: \`${=@[2,-1]}\`"
            echo "univ_open: went to \`$1'\n"
    elif [[ ! -e $@ ]]; then
        [[ $# -gt 1 ]] && head=$1:h || head=$@:h
        # if we're given just 1 argument, and that argument does not exist,
        # then go to the nearest valid parent directory; we use a while loop to
        # find the closest valid directory, just in case the user gave a
        # butchered-up path
        while [[ ! -d $head ]]; do head=$head:h; done
        cd $head && dir_info
        echo "\nuniv_open: path \`$@' does not exist"
        [[ $head == "." ]] && echo "univ_open: stayed in same directory\n" || echo "univ_open: relocated to nearest parent directory \`$head'\n"
        # possible error -- should re-program the above if this ever happens,
        # but, it seems unlikely
        echo "\nuniv_open: error -- exiting peacefully"

Put these two functions inside your ~/.zsh/func folder with filenames “dir_info” and “univ_open” and autoload them. I personally do this in my ~/.zshrc:

fpath=(~/.zsh/func $fpath)
autoload -U ~/.zsh/func/*(:t)

to have them autoloaded. Then, simply alias “d” to “univ_open” and alias “ll” to “dir_info 0” and “l” to “dir_info 1”, and you’re set (the aliases to dir_info are optional, but highly recommended). The real star of the show in this post is dir_info() and how it displays various info for the directory after the “ls” stuff is printed on the screen. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.