Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Just a Reminder That rlwrap Exists

Published 10 Dec 2015. Tags: computer-science, unix.

rlwrap is a terrific little Unix tool to add GNU readline functionality to commands that don’t support it:

rlwrap is a wrapper that uses the GNU readline library to allow the editing of keyboard input for any other command. Input history is kept between invocations, separately for each command; history completion and search work as in bash and completion word lists can be specified on the command line.

So if you’ve ever run a REPL and hit the up arrow, expecting the previous command to appear for editing, and instead got a string of gibberish, you might find rlwrap helpful. Just prefix the REPL command with rlwrap and you’re off to the races:

$ rlwrap some_shoddy_repl

I’ve noticed that this is often useful with SQL clients, which invariably seem to screw up readline bindings.