sift – fast and powerful alternative to grep

Most of the existing tools for searching through large amounts of text are either fast but inflexible (the original grep) or slightly more flexible but slow or complicated to install.

sift is an alternative that aims for both speed and flexibility – i.e. adding features while trying to reach (or even surpass) the performance of the original grep. The additional features include gitignore support, conditions (e.g. match A only when preceded by B within X lines) , full multi-core support and multiline matching.

This is free and open source software.

Features include:

  • Fast.
  • Single executable with no dependencies and is available for all major platforms.
  • RegEx – Perl compatible regular expression format.
  • Usable defaults – basic options known from grep but with usable defaults.
  • Target selection – select or exclude search targets based on file name, directory name, path and type.
  • gitignore support – sift understands .gitignore files and can be configured to only show results in relevant files.
  • Multiline support – find matches spanning over multiple lines.
  • Replace – replace output to reformat it to your needs without relying on awk/sed.
  • gzip files – search through normal and gzip’ed files in one program call.
  • Handling big data – sift handles big files without problems: files >50GB, >5,000,000,000 lines and >5,000,000,000 matches successfully tested.
  • Multiple patterns – search for multiple patterns in one run.
  • Customizable – optional global and local configuration file to specify your own preferences:
    • search case insensitive.
    • respect .gitignore files.
    • limit maximum output line length.
    • skip binary files.

Support: GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Sven Taute
License: GNU General Public License v3.0

sift help

sift is written in Go. Learn Go with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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