ack is a powerful grep replacement, I use it everyday to search for patterns in source code files. From the Top 10 reasons to use ack for source code, it’s blazing fast, (really it seems instantaneous), has extremely good defaults, and just works.
But there is another and faster grep-like tool: ag, AKA The Silver Searcher. ag is a code searching tool similar to ack, with a focus on speed.
In fact, ag is fast, extremely fast. When you test it for the first time, you have the same feeling when you discoverered ack for the first time. It searches code about 3x to 5x faster than ack.
For instance, if I test a middle sized iOS app (~100,000 lines of code):
$ time ack OEMWelcomeViewController … real 0m0.625s user 0m0.545s sys 0m0.074s
$ time ag OEMWelcomeViewController … real 0m0.067s user 0m0.062s sys 0m0.092s
ag is almost 10x faster than ack on this test! That is blazing fast!
To install ag on OSX, just use Homebrew and run:
brew install ag
You can learn more about ag on The Silver Searcher: Better than Ack and on the Github page.