Homebrew: Streamline Search-Info-Install

If you often find yourself navigating the vast ocean of Homebrew packages, you know that installing the software you need can be a bit of a process. Like many of you, I used to perform a brew search, sift through the results to find just the right tool, peek at the package details with brew info, and finally install the chosen package with brew install. It wasn’t exactly tedious, but it sure could be streamlined.

One challenge that I often face in the thickets of Homebrew’s repository is that packages oftentimes have strikingly similar names, especially when they serve related functions. On the other hand, if a package has a non-descriptive name, it’s impossible to guess what it’s doing. This can lead to a bit of confusion, or even the accidental installation of a package that wasn’t quite what I intended.

By integrating brew info into the selection process, I ensure that I have all the information I need to make an informed decision about the software I’m about to install. No more guessing games based on cryptic package names—just clear, concise details at your fingertips.

So, in the spirit of automation and simplification, married these steps into a seamless workflow in one bash script. Why type three different commands when you can do everything with one?

Search, Info, Install: A One-Script Solution

Here’s a quick rundown of what the script offers:

  • It starts by searching for the package you’re interested in.
  • For a single match, it’ll show you the details of the package to ensure it’s the one you want, then prompt you for installation.
  • When faced with multiple possibilities, the script will present a neat list so you can select the exact package you’re after. Of course, you’ll get a chance to review the package details before making the big installation decision.

Imagine all the keystrokes you’ll save! Plus, the script has a knack for handling user inputs gracefully—whether it’s confirming an action or catching an accidental invalid choice. The goal is to keep the experience as interactive and foolproof as possible.

You can find the script in this gist so, you have the convenience of downloading the script directly, and if you’re curious, you can tailor it to better suit your needs. If you find it useful, starring it would be much appreciated!

Before you dive in, a quick reminder: to run the script from anywhere, you’ll need to place it in a directory within your $PATH, and make it executable with chmod +x yourscriptname. This small setup step ensures that streamlining your Homebrew installation process is just a command away. Choose a short name—I run the script as br—to save even more keystrokes.

Download the script, make it your go-to tool for managing Homebrew packages, and experience the joy of a simpler, more efficient workflow. If you have questions or want to reach out, please do so on Twitter @alpipego.

P.S.: I’m trying out something new and I’ve turned this into a video. If you want to have a more visual experience check it out https://youtu.be/JSAWS6nZ5lw and let me know what you think.