Cool Stuff You Can Do With fzf

November 5, 2017

fzf is an awesome tool for filtering and selecting lists of things on the command line.


kill <tab>


Generalizing kill

In addition to the autocomplete for kill, we can use fzf to pick from other lists as well. We can roughly reconstruct the behavior with a chain of other commands.

ps aux | fzf -m | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill



Let’s do something a bit more fun. We can boot up a kube cluster using GKE, then interactively select a pod to exec into. First let’s create a cluster and start a sample pod.

gcloud container clusters create test-cluster
gcloud container clusters get-credentials test-cluster
kubectl create -f

We can check to make sure the pod is running by getting the pods.

➜ kubectl get pods
shell-demo   1/1       Running   0          22m

Now, with fzf, we can construct a command which will let us interactively pick a pod to exec into.

kubectl get pods --no-headers \
  | fzf | awk '{print $1}' \
  | xargs -o -I % kubectl exec -it % bash

Pick the pod (of which there’s only one for us right now).


This will get you a shell in a pod something like this, which you can then use and exit.

root@shell-demo:/# ls
bin   dev  home  lib64	mnt  proc  run	 srv  tmp  var
boot  etc  lib	 media	opt  root  sbin  sys  usr
root@shell-demo:/# exit


The xargs arguments are pretty crucial here. -I % allows us to use % in our command at any arbitrary point. % will get replaced with the pod name.

If we didn’t use -o, kubectl would error out complaining about not having a tty.

-o      Reopen stdin as /dev/tty in the child process 
        before executing the command.  This is useful 
        if you want xargs to run an interactive application.