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How can I use find command to search string/pattern in a file recursively?


 
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# 1  
Old 10-03-2016
How can I use find command to search string/pattern in a file recursively?

Hi,

How can I use find command to search string/pattern in a file recursively?
What I tried:
Code:
find . -type f -exec cat {} | grep "make" \;

Output:
Code:
grep: find: ;: No such file or directory
missing argument to `-exec'

And this:
Code:
find . -type f -exec cat {} \; -exec grep "make" {} \;

This print all the contents of files and the matched part of that file. I want to print only the matched part.

I wanted to use find with exec, normally we do
Code:
cat filename | grep "make"

Is it possible to do `cat filename | grep "make"` with find exec ?

Any answer will be highly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
# 2  
Old 10-03-2016
Hello cola,

If you want to print only the file names which have string makein them then following may help you in same.
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep -l "make" {} \+

In case you want to see the line/record where it has string makein it then following may help you in same too.
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep "make" {} \+

Thanks,
R. Singh
# 3  
Old 10-03-2016
In addition to what R. Singh has already said...

Stop using cat! The grep utility is perfectly capable of opening files by itself and doing it that way is not only MUCH more efficient, it also gets rid of all of your problems. Try:
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep "make" {} \;

or if you want the grep output to let you know which file(s) contain the word you are trying to find; and since you're looking for a fixed string you can make the search much faster with:
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep -F "make" /dev/null {} +

which looks for fixed strings (instead of regular expressions) in large numbers of files with each invocation of grep (instead of one invocation of grep for each file processed).
# 4  
Old 10-03-2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Cragun
In addition to what R. Singh has already said...

Stop using cat! The grep utility is perfectly capable of opening files by itself and doing it that way is not only MUCH more efficient, it also gets rid of all of your problems. Try:
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep "make" {} \;

or if you want the grep output to let you know which file(s) contain the word you are trying to find; and since you're looking for a fixed string you can make the search much faster with:
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep -F "make" /dev/null {} +

which looks for fixed strings (instead of regular expressions) in large numbers of files with each invocation of grep (instead of one invocation of grep for each file processed).
What's the difference between {} \; and {} + or {} \+ ?

Is it possible to call multiple commands with -exec like piping:
Code:
find . -type f -exec onecommand | secondcommand {} \;

What's wrong with using cat?
# 5  
Old 10-03-2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by cola
What's the difference between {} \; and {} + or {} \+ ?
Is it possible to call multiple commands with -exec like piping:
Code:
find . -type f -exec onecommand | secondcommand {} \;

What's wrong with using cat?
Hello cola,

Following are the answers for your queries.
  1. Difference between {} \+and{} \;is {} \+is faster than {} \;.
  2. Yes, it is possible to use multiple exec calls into a single findcommand, it is completely depends on your requirements.
  3. So there is something called UUOC (Useless use of cat), so using catcommand with a command which is able to read Input_file by itself it called UUOC in very short description. Following is an example for same. Let's say we have following Input_file.
Code:
cat  Input_file
abcdef
test test test1
test2 asajndjad
dwjfewygfwkcm wdjcwcnwnc

Now if want to look for string test in above Input_file then example of UUOC is as follows.
Code:
cat Input_file | grep "test"
test test test1
test2 asajndjad

Above will read the Input_file by catcommand then it will push the standard output of this command as standard input to next grepcommand(that's why pipe|is used here) which will then read file and search for string testthen. So point here is unnecessarily we are using catwhen grepitself is capable to read Input_file from itself. So by directly using grephere to read and search Input_file we could save sometime(depending upon you Input_file size) and processes too.

Now following is the example of grepwhich is capable of reading the Input_file by itself and search a string too.
Code:
grep "test"  Input_file
test test test1
test2 asajndjad

I hope this helps you.

Thanks,
R. Singh

Last edited by rbatte1; 10-03-2016 at 10:17 AM.. Reason: Converted to formatted number-list with LIST=i to give roman numerals
# 6  
Old 10-03-2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Cragun
Code:
find . -type f -exec grep -F "make" /dev/null {} +

I guess this is a typo, isn't it? Should be \; in the end, not +
# 7  
Old 10-03-2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by rovf
I guess this is a typo, isn't it? Should be \; in the end, not +
Hi rovf,
No!
Code:
find ... -exec command {} \;

Invokes command once for each file meeting the criteria specified by ..., while:
Code:
find ... -exec command {} +

invokes command once for a group of files meeting the criteria specified by ... with the number of files in the group being determined by the size of the environment passed to command, the length of command, and the length of the pathnames of the files being passed to command.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cola
What's the difference between {} \; and {} + or {} \+ ?

Is it possible to call multiple commands with -exec like piping:
Code:
find . -type f -exec onecommand | secondcommand {} \;

What's wrong with using cat?
The difference between \; and + terminating a find -exec primary is described above.

The command given to a:
Code:
find -exec command {} \;

or:
Code:
find -exec command {} +

primary is something that can be executed by find. The find utility doesn't know how to execute pipelines. You could exec sh -c "pipeline" but the shell's -c operand has to be a single argument so the command you give find won't see the {} (which it will replace with a the name of a found file) as a separate argument, so it might not replace it with the name of a found file. (The standards leave it unspecified whether or not find replaces {} if that string does not appear as a separate argument.)

If you need to use find -exec to run a pipeline (which you DO NOT need to do in this case and doing so would involve running a shell and a cat and a grep when all you need is grep) would be to put the pipeline in a separate shell script such as scriptname containing:
Code:
#!/bin/your_shell
cat "$1" | grep -F 'make'

make it executable with:
Code:
chmod +x scriptname

and move it to some directory in the list of directories in your $PATH environment variable. Then you can execute it with:
Code:
find ... -exec scriptname {} \;

If a small number of files is involved, you might get away with having scriptname contain:
Code:
#!/bin/your_shell
cat "$@" | grep -F /dev/null 'make'

and executing it with:
Code:
find ... -exec scriptname {} +

but if the arguments passed to scriptname along with scriptname and its environment is shorter than the command that scriptname will execute, scriptname may fail with a E2BIG error condition unless you build extra argument loop processing to guarantee that the commands being executed by your script won't fail due to the size of the argument list and environment list your shell will be passing to a member of the exec family of functions to run that stage in your pipeline.

Using:
Code:
grep 'word' "file"

invokes one utility, reads all of the data in file and writes lines in file that contain word while:
Code:
cat "file" | grep 'word'

invokes two utilities, reads all of the data in file, writes all of the data in file reads all of the data in file again and then writes all of the lines in file that contain word. So the useless use of cat creates an unneeded process, forces the system to read and write the entire contents of file an extra unneeded time wasting system memory, wasting I/O bandwidth, and wasting CPU cycles that could be used by other processes to do something useful. Use cat if you need it; DO NOT use cat if you don't need it! Using cat when you don't need it takes longer for you to get the results you want and wastes system resources that you or someone else on your system might need to use to get something done that needs the cycles you are wasting.
This User Gave Thanks to Don Cragun For This Post:

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