surfraw man page

surfraw — a fast unix command line interface to WWW services

Synopsis

surfraw elviname [options] search words ...
sr elviname [options] search words ...
sr -elvi
sr [options] bookmark [search words]

Description

Surfraw provides a fast unix command line interface to a variety of popular WWW search engines and other artifacts of power. It reclaims google, altavista, dejanews, freshmeat, research index, slashdot and many others from the false‐prophet, pox‐infested heathen lands of html‐forms, placing these wonders where they belong, deep in unix heartland, as god loving extensions to the shell.

Surfraw consists of a collection of elvi, each of which knows how to search a specific web site. To see the list of elvi type:

surfraw -elvi

Note that sr is an alias for surfraw, so that could equally be

sr -elvi

To search using an elvis use:

sr elviname [options] search terms..

For example, to search google for information on Debian ports, using the "I'm feeling lucky" option:

sr google -l debian ports

Adding the elvi to your path

If you are a regular user of surfraw, you will probably get sick of typing sr or surfraw each time. You can regain the old behaviour of running the elvi directly by adding the elvi directory (/usr/libexec/surfraw) to your path, either manually or using surfraw-update-path(1).

Bookmarks

Surfraw supports bookmarks. To add a bookmark, add it to /etc/xdg/surfraw/bookmarks or $HOME/.config/surfraw/bookmarks

The format of the bookmarks file is simple, each bookmark is on a separate line, with the bookmark and URL separated by whitespace, eg:

ntk http://www.ntk.net/

If the url contains the string %s, you can specify an optional argument to the bookmark. Without an argument, only the domain will be returned. With arguments, %s will be replaced by the arguments. This obviates the need to create elvi for sites with very simple search options.

To invoke a bookmark, use "surfraw bookmark" or "sr bookmark", and if an elvis of that name doesn't exist, it searches for a bookmark of that name instead.

There are some example bookmarks in /etc/xdg/surfraw/bookmarks

Options

Use sr elviname -local-help for elvi‐specific options.

The following options work with all elvi.

-help
Show summary of options (including elvi‐specific options).
-local-help
Show elvi‐specific options.
-version
Show version of program.
-browser=EXECUTABLE
Set browser (default: sensible-browser).
-elvi
Display a list of other Surfraw mechanisms for conquering evil.
-escape-url-args=yes|no
Apply url escaping to arguments (default: yes)
-q|-quote

Bracket all arguments with " characters (default: no). Note that putting quotes round arguments works now, so you can do, for example:

sr google foo "bar baz" bam

and the quoting is passed on to the search engine

Examples

$ sr ask why is jeeves gay?
$ surfraw google -results=100 RMS, GNU, which is sinner, which is sin?
$ sr austlii -method=phrase dog like
$ /usr/libexec/surfraw/rhyme -method=perfect Julian

Configuration

Surfraw uses the XDG basedir spec (http://standards.freedesktop.org/basedi…) to locate config files. The default locations are shown below, but can be modified by setting the environment variables $XDG_CONFIG_HOME and $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS. See the spec for more details.

Surfraw gets its configuration from three sources, in order:

1.
Environment variables
2.
/etc/xdg/surfraw/conf
3.
$HOME/.config/surfraw/conf

/etc/xdg/surfraw.conf and $HOME/.config/surfraw/conf are both fragments of bourne‐shell style shell script.

/etc/xdg/surfraw.conf should use def and defyn to define variables. These functions set variables unless they are already set by the environment. defyn is used for boolean configuration variables, def for all others. For instance:

def SURFRAW_text_browser/usr/bin/lynx
defyn SURFRAW_graphicalno

$HOME/.config/surfraw/conf should use sh‐style entries, eg:

SURFRAW_text_browser=/usr/bin/lynx
SURFRAW_graphical=no

This is because you want them to override environment variables unconditionally.

Configuration Variables

SURFRAW_global_conf

Location of global configuration file.

Default:

def SURFRAW_global_conf /etc/xdg/surfraw/conf

SURFRAW_conf

Location of per‐user configuration file.

Default:

def SURFRAW_conf $HOME/.config/surfraw/conf

SURFRAW_graphical

Whether to use a graphical browser.

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_graphical no

SURFRAW_text_browser

Name/path of text browser executable. e.g. links, lynx, w3m

Default:

def SURFRAW_text_browser sensible-browser

SURFRAW_graphical_browser

Name/path of graphical browser executable. e.g mozilla, netscape etc.

Default:

def SURFRAW_graphical_browser sensible-browser

SURFRAW_text_browser_args

Text browser arguments, or "none".

Default:

def SURFRAW_text_browser_args none

SURFRAW_graphical_browser_args

Graphical browser arguments, or "none".

Default:

def SURFRAW_graphical_browser_args none

SURFRAW_graphical_remote

Whether to use "-remote openURL" for graphical browser.

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_graphical_remote yes

SURFRAW_new_window

When using SURFRAW_graphical_remote, open a new window?

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_new_window no

SURFRAW_screen

Name of screen command to run.

Default:

def SURFRAW_screen screen

SURFRAW_new_screen

If surfraw is running under screen(1), start a new screen for each text browser invocation?

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_new_screen no

SURFRAW_screen_args

Arguments to pass to the SURFRAW_screen command

Default:

def SURFRAW_screen_args ""

SURFRAW_quote_args

Whether to "quote" all the arguments.

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_quote_args no

SURFRAW_quote_ifs

Whether to re‐quote arguments if they have spaces in, ie so:
sr google foo "bar baz" bam
works as expected.

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_quote_ifs yes

SURFRAW_results

Default number of results to return (not supported by all elvi).

Default:

def SURFRAW_results 30

SURFRAW_escape_url_args

Whether to escape [% "$%&+,/:;<=>?@[{|}~'] characters in command line arguments subsequently used to construct a url.

Default:

defyn SURFRAW_escape_url_args yes

Files

/usr/libexec/surfraw
Location of the elvi.
${HOME}/.config/surfraw/elvi
Per‐user elvi.
/etc/xdg/surfraw/conf
Default system wide configuration file.
$HOME/.config/surfraw/conf
Default per‐user config file
/etc/xdg/surfraw/bookmarks
System wide bookmarks file.
$HOME/.config/surfraw/bookmarks
Per‐user bookmarks file.

Bugs

Please report any bugs found (or any web sites in need of surfrawizing) either via the debian bug tracking system (http://bugs.debian.org/) or to the surfraw-devel list (surfraw-devel@lists.alioth.debian.org).

See Also

http://alioth.debian.org/projects/surfr…

Propaganda

Oh Baybe
I need some
Deep Linking
Let us go
Surfin' in the raw!

Read HACKING. Surfrawize the soul of your favourite internet wonder. Join the Shell Users' Revolutionary Front Against the WWW by submitting code. Reclaim heathen lands. Bear witness to the truth. Its love will set you free.

Join us on surfraw-devel@lists.alioth.debian.org

Authors

Originally written by Julian Assange.

Now maintained by the surfraw-devel team <surfraw-devel@lists.alioth.debian.org>.

See the file Authors for the full list of contributors.

Man page by Ian Beckwith, based on the original README and an earlier man page by Christian Surchi.

Referenced By

elvi.1sr(1), surfraw-update-path(1).

Feb 03, 2004