Replacing Ack with Ag «

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I used grep to search code for a bit over a decade. I switched to ack to get more quicker searches without the distractions of svn/git metadata and other non-code files. After a very nice five years of ack, I’ve switched to ag. I’ve been recommending it to other devs for a year or two (it’s faster than ack with a couple really nice features like obeying .gitignore configs), but only took the time to switch this week.

On Arch, installing was as simple as:

pacman -S the_silver_searcher
pacman -Rns ack

Updating my vimrc’s section for ack.vim was supposed to be straightforward but turned into a pain in the ass. In my vimrc I had:

" Use Ack instead of Grep when available
if executable("ack")
set grepprg=ack\-H\--nogroup\--nocolor
command! -nargs=* -complete=file Ack call Ack()
nmap a :Ack
nmap A :Ack

I added the following after the ‘endif’, so my config falls back to ack on systems without ack:

if executable("ag")
let g:ackprg="ag --nogroup --nocolor --column"
set grepprg=ag\ --vimgrep\ $*
set grepformat=%f:%l%c%m

Unfortunately, ack.vim got loaded by pathogen after .vimrc, so the let g:ackprg default at the top was overriding my config. This drove me insane for a few minutes, and maybe there’s some clever way to say that my setting should not be replaceable, but I just commented out the line in ~/.vim/bundle/ack.vim/plugin/ack.vim and moved on with my life.

Then I edited my `a` alias, and aliased “ack”, knowing that I’ll make that mistake for a few months:

alias a='ag'
alias ack='ag'

Last, I added a ~/.agignore to ignore rcov output:


Not much config to update, but ag is sharply faster drop-in replacement for ack.