gleitz / howdoi

gleitz / howdoi


instant coding answers via the command line…



instant coding answers via the command line

Are you a hack programmer? Do you find yourself constantly Googling for how to do basic programing tasks?

Suppose you want to know how to format a date in bash. Why open your browser and read through blogs (risking major distraction) when you can simply stay in the console and ask howdoi:

$ howdoi format date bash
> DATE=date +%Y-%m-%d

howdoi will answer all sorts of queries:

$ howdoi print stack trace python
> import traceback
> try:
>     1/0
> except:
>     print '>>> traceback <<<'
>     traceback.print_exc()
>     print '>>> end of traceback <<<'
> traceback.print_exc()

$ howdoi convert mp4 to animated gif > video=/path/to/video.avi > outdir=/path/to/output.gif > mplayer "$video" \ > -ao null \ > -ss "00:01:00" \ # starting point > -endpos 10 \ # duration in second > -vo gif89a:fps=13:output=$outdir \ > -vf scale=240:180

$ howdoi create tar archive > tar -cf backup.tar --exclude "www/subf3" www


pip install howdoi


pip install git+


brew install


python install


usage: [-h] [-p POS] [-a] [-l] [-c] [-n NUM_ANSWERS] [-C] [-v] QUERY [QUERY ...]

instant coding answers via the command line

positional arguments: QUERY the question to answer

optional arguments: -h, --help show this help message and exit -p POS, --pos POS select answer in specified position (default: 1) -a, --all display the full text of the answer -l, --link display only the answer link -c, --color enable colorized output -n NUM_ANSWERS, --num-answers NUM_ANSWERS number of answers to return -C, --clear-cache clear the cache -v, --version displays the current version of howdoi



  • Works with Python2 and Python3
  • A standalone Windows executable with the howdoi application is available here.
  • An Alfred Workflow for howdoi can be found at
  • Slack integration available through slack-howdoi.
  • Howdoi uses a cache for faster access to previous questions. Caching functionality can be disabled by setting the HOWDOI_DISABLE_CACHE environment variable. The cache is stored in ~/.cache/howdoi.
  • You can set the HOWDOI_URL environment variable to change the source url for answers (default: Other options include or Here's the full list.
  • Setting the HOWDOI_COLORIZE environment variable will colorize the output by default.
  • Special thanks to Rich Jones (@miserlou) for the idea.


  • Checkout the repo
  • Run python -m howdoi.howdoi QUERY (if you try running python howdoi/ you my get ValueError: Attempted relative import in non-package).


You might get the following error when installing with Homebrew:

==> python install

Please make the appropriate changes for your system and try again.

Fix the error by executing the following command:

sudo chmod -R go+w /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/

An official lxml for python 3.3+ for windows has not yet been released. You may get an error while installing. Try and install an unofficial binary for lxml from