Add exec option to search

Revision as of 13:37, 24 March 2011 by Sean (talk | contribs) (new layout, add references)
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One of BRL-CAD's more powerful tools is search - essentially the Unix find command adapted for geometry. A missing but desirable feature for search is to be able to execute geometry editing commands the way find can run programs on its results. Say, for example, we want to draw in the MGED window all objects whose name starts with the letter s. We can currently find those objects:

search . -name s*

but we would have to capture the output and run a Tcl script in mged to display the results. The exec feature would allow us to simply:

search . -name s* -exec draw {} ;

(Note: quoting of options in the above examples is not what is required for the MGED tcl prompt, but has been simplified for clarity - an enhancement to MGED that would make using search easier would be a setting that checks which command is being run before applying Tcl globbing logic. This would allow search to recive the above commands "as is" while still allowing 'ls *' to work as expected, although that should be user configurable because some users would type a search command expecting Tcl globbing to work.)

Adding the exec option to the search command will require changes not only to search but to how command tables are structured in BRL-CAD - currently tables mapping commands to function calls are present in MGED, and they would need to live at a lower level in order to allow exec to find and run them (search is a library function and as such cannot know anything about MGED). A student proposal would identify the needed changes to both search and BRL-CAD's tools and libraries (they could be more extensive than one might expect - remember the goal is to do it "the right way", not just a way that works.) Students interested in this topic are encouraged to discuss it with developers on IRC or email (IRC is preferred.)


  • src/librt/search.c
  • src/libged/search.c
  • src/mged/setup.c


  • Familiarity with C