Last Updated: March 22, 2018
· marioBonales

Sed recursively with the help of ack and xargs

You can make a sed replacement recursively with the help of ack and xargs just do the following

ack "search text" -l --print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 sed -i "s/search text/replacement text/"

This will first list the files with ack, then execute sed the expression indicated in every file, in this case the reeplace

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This is brilliant! I made it into a little script called srchrep

ack "$replace" -la --print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 sed -i "s/$replace/$replacement/"

or as a function for your .bashrc or .bashprofile

function srchrpc () { ack "$1" -la --print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 sed -i "s/$1/$2/"; }
  • note I added the -a flag so that it will do the replace on all files. So, if this isn't the behaviour you are looking for, you want take care with this .
  • just save the script version as whatever you feel comfortable with then, make a symlink or put it in ~/bin and then you can call it like
$ srchrep searchText replacementText 
  • any insight is welcome and appreciated.
over 1 year ago ·