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12 September 2010

search insides the sources with glimpse

I use the pydev plugin of eclipse which permits a simple search of a method or a class. Still, sometimes (often really) I need to search for a snippet of javascript or css or .po file.

I found glimpse usefull to this kind of searches, here is how I use it.

A good tip is to only install python package unzipped in your virtualenv, that is provide a -Z option parameter to the easy_install command. This will help pydev and glimpse to parse the packages content.


to install glimpse, download the latest release from

then the usual commands

#>make install

this will give you two new commands, glimpse to search in the index, glimpseindex to build the index

if you can't access the root privileges, it is possible to set a --prefix parameter.

you then create a place to store the indexes, I issued a

$>mkdir index.tg2

you don't want to index a few extensions, in the newly created folder create a file named .glimpse_exclude containig something like :


to ease the use of the commands you can set a few aliases in your environment

#Aliases for glimpse
# search all
alias tsh='glimpse -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# search po translation files
alias tshpo='glimpse -F \.po$ -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# search python sources
alias tshpy='glimpse -F \.py$ -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# search css
alias tshcss='glimpse -F \.css$ -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# search javascripts
alias tshjs='glimpse -F \.js$ -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# search genshi templates
alias tshhtml='glimpse -F \.html$ -n -H ~/index.tg2'
# reindex glimpse
alias treindex='glimpseindex -H ~/index.tg2 ~/virtualenvs/tg2/'

This setup has proven quite efficient in numerous situation.

example: I need to find where the Spacer Class from the tw.forms is defined

$ pchpy Spacer | grep class
/lib/python2.6/site-packages/tw.forms-0.9.9-py2.6.egg/tw/forms/ 667: class Spacer(FormField):

more details with the help commands

$>glimpse --help
$>man glimpse
$>man glimpseindex

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