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perform web searches from the command line

Project description


  opens appropriate search query in a browser

urlsearch provides a shortcut to start a web search from the command line. It is designed to be symlinked from command names which refer to the target search engine; several are already included by default:

  • google

  • bing

  • ddg (DuckDuckGo)

  • pylib (search Python library reference)

  • pypi (search the Python Package Index)

  • wiki (search Wikipedia)


  • automatic guessing of top-level domains

  • special casing of query path and naming in a .ini-style config file

  • supports trac ticket searches (e.g. #1234) by omitting the leading ‘#’, which would otherwise be interpreted as a comment by the shell and dropped. (disabled by default - enable on a per-site basis in ~/.urlsearchrc)

  • supports local domains - if name can be resolved locally it will be used in preference to appending a suffix


These assume ‘google’, ‘wiki’, and ‘trac’ are urlsearch commands:

$ google photon mapping
$ trac r19201
$ wiki path tracing

Default installation

Note the default installation adds a number of new commands to your PATH, as listed in the Usage overview above.

$ pip install urlsearch
$ google python webbrowser  # open web page

Manual installation

Cloning the repository locally and editing the content of scripts by deleting or creating symlinks is recommended to get a more custom set of search links.

~$ hg clone
~$ cd urlsearch/scripts
scripts$ rm google
scripts$ ln -s urlsearch trac
scripts$ cd ..
urlsearch$ python3 install

Config File

urlsearch looks for a config file named .urlsearchrc in the home directory. It may be modified to configure the search behaviour of urlsearch on a per-site basis, as well as configuring some options.

Note that urlsearch creates a default ~/.urlsearchrc.default config file if no config file exists, and does check this, but will prefer to use ~/.urlsearchrc if available. This prevents package upgrade installs overriding any config changes made by the user. Rather than modify this file directly, it should first be copied or moved to .urlsearchrc.

The default installation instance is fully commented. Two example entries are shown below - note that this still requires appropriate symlinks with the same name as the section heading to be created to launch urlsearch:

site =
query = w/index.php?search={terms}

site =
query = pypi?:action=search&term={terms}&submit=search

The two key fields are site, giving the domain name (either full or minus the TLD, causing a list of TLDs to be searched) of the site, and query which is a format string of the path used to request a search. The seach terms are substituted into the {terms} field with appropriate quoting. See the installed config file for more options.


  • prefer reliability to speed; use gethostbyname rather than getaddrinfo and check response against (see

  • create ~/.urlsearchrc.default on use rather than at install-time

  • installer fixes

  • install config file to .urlsearchrc.default

  • support for .urlsearchrc config file

  • change to use setuptools

  • add pypi search

  • first release


Improve documentation of the config file structure

Ben Bass 2012-2014 @codedstructure

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