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Managing text data from the commandline

Project description Code Climate


I use rvo for managing my text data.

  • Notes
  • Docs (personal wiki)
  • Bookmarks
  • Journal
  • Quotes

and the like.


When I started writing rvo, my goal was designing an utility that feels a little like markdown. It should be usable very easily. A handy program the user likes to use. At the same time it should be easy to integrate with other tools. Taking the typical unix approach. Make it read and write to stdin/out. Have it fully configurable with commandline parameters.

It basically should not matter if a human or a machine is interacting with rvo.

  • Rich search capabilities
  • Statistics about the documents
  • Encryption of single documents using Salsa20 and Blake2b
  • Interacts with vim
  • Fetching the title of a link to be the title of your document
  • Mail an article to a friend of yours.
  • Easily interact with other programs using stdin / stdout


Currently, rvo only works in python2.7

pip install rvo

After that, setup a mongodb. You may use your favorite packagemanager. For me it’s OpenBSDs “pkg_add”.

/etc/init.d/mongod start


Add this to the config file ~/.rvo.conf

MongoDB = mongodb://localhost/
DB = rvo
Editor = vim
Pager = vim
PagerOptions = -R
MailFrom =

After it was successfully configured, run ping to verfiy the connection to mongodb works.

$ rvo ping
>>> Trying to connect to database...
>>> Connection SUCCESSFUL
>>> Trying to write, read, delete to test_collection...
>>> Interactions were SUCCESSFUL


rvo is a really friendly piece of software. It helps you whereever it needs to. You may start with a simple

$ rvo --help

To add a document, just

$ rvo add

and tada, your very first document is created. Add content from whatever you like. As said before, you can store notes, write diary. After that, check out your documents.

$ rvo list

Thats all. Just kidding. Have a look into all the the other commands!

add       Add a document.
analyze   Text analysis on a document
append    Append content to a document.
delete    Deletes a document.
edit      Edit the content of an document.
export    Exports all document
info      Shows metadata of a document
list      List documents from store
log       Show transactions
mail      Mails a document to a recipient for your choice
memories  Some nostalgia by showing documents some years ago
modify    Modifies a documents metadata
ping      Verifys the connection to the database
show      Shows a document
stats     Show statistics about categories and tags

Document titles

The title from a normal document is generated from the first line of the content. Leading whitespace and # will be stripped away.

$ rvo add -t javascript -c notes
# Meeting Notes

* We should probably throw away our .js applications
* ...

So “Meeting Notes” will be the document title. This also happens when you edit a document. So if you want to change the title, edit the content and after saving the title gets updated.


Normally, rvo opens your favorite PAGER. If output redirection is detected it just outputs plain content to whatever file you like.

$ rvo list -c meeting
$ rvo show 1 > /tmp/

Also without redirection the content is being cat ed by using the -s flag

$ rvo show -s 2


Read content from stdin

$ echo foo | rvo add -t test -c notes


You can easily export all what you’ve inserted.

rvo export -c twitter --to json | python -m json.tool
rvo export -t work --to markdown

Or just loop over the output

rvo list -l 5000
for x in {1..5000} ; do rvo show --stdout $x ; done

Document identification

As a typical workflow, you do a list query and You can either use the full mongodb objectid or a shortid.

Everytime you do a list query, a resultset will be built. Every result gets a shortid assigned to it and this mapping is being saved in mongodb.

I’ve implemented shortids because they are easier to use. You dont have to copy the full objectid using copy with mouse. shortids are easier to use!


The crypto used is written with Salsa20 and blake2b. When the first document is created and being encrypted, rvo prompts for the initial password. Keep this password save. You will need it more often.

The password you set is used to encrypt a randomly generated character long password. Its stored within the database. Most important. The generated password is used to encrypt and decrypt every document (when encryption is set).

Basically that means: there is one password (chosen by you) that unlocks another generated password, that encrypts your document.

This ensures a lot of stuff. For example easy password changes for the user. Or setting a slightly different password accidentially for one document.

Data Structure

The native json document that goes into MongoDB looks like this

  "_id" : ObjectId("568d344c6815b45596d1c7ad"),
  "title": "My very first entry"
  "content" : "<Markdown Content goes here>",
  "created": ISODate("2014-09-03T07:37:52Z"),
  "updated": ISODate("2015-09-03T07:37:52Z"),
  "tags": [ "mongodb", "markdown" ],
  "category": ["notes"],
  "encrypted": false,

Since rvo uses pymongo, its way easier dealing with documents. Python native types are automatically converted to the corresponding types in json/mongodb. The following is a native python dictionary.

  'title': '2-Factor-Auth',
  'content': '<Markdown Content goes here>',
  'created': datetime.datetime(),
  'updated': datetime.datetime(),
  'tags': ['markdown, 'mongodb'],
  'encrypted': False,
  'categories': ['notes'],


There are also features, that rvo does not have and probably never gets.

  • Version control for your documents
  • Multiple users or an “author” field.

Last but not least

Do not confuse rvo with Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland. It has nothing to do with it. Still, I really like their logo.

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