Sometimes you don’t want pandas, tidyverse, Excel, or PostgreSQL. You know they are very powerful and flexible, you know if you’re already using them daily you can utilize them. But sometimes you just want to be left alone with your CVS, TSV, JSON and XML files, process them quickly on the command line, and get done with it. And you want something a little more specialized than awk , cut, and sed.
This list is by no means complete and authoritative. I compiled this as a reference that I can come back later. If you have other suggestions that are according to the spirit of this article, feel free to share them by writing a comment at the end. Without further ado, here’s my list:
- xsv: A fast CSV command line toolkit written by the author of ripgrep. It’s useful for indexing, slicing, analyzing, splitting and joining CSV files.
- q: run SQL directly on CSV or TSV files.
- csvkit: a suite of command-line tools for converting to and working with CSV, the king of tabular file formats.
- textql: execute SQL against structured text like CSV or TSV.
- miller: like awk, sed, cut, join, and sort for name-indexed data such as CSV, TSV, and tabular JSON. You get to work with your data using named fields, without needing to count positional column indices.
- agate: a Python data analysis library that is optimized for humans instead of machines. It is an alternative to numpy and pandas that solves real-world problems with readable code.
- SQLite: import a CSV File Into an SQLite Table, and use plain SQL to query it.
- csv-mode for Emacs: sort, align, transpose, and manage rows and fields of CSV files.
- lnav: the Log Navigator. See the tutorial in Linux Magazine.
- jq: this one is THE tool for processing JSON on the command-line. It’s like
sedfor JSON data – you can use it to slice and filter and map and transform structured data with the same ease that
grepand friends let you play with text.
- JMESPath tutorial: a query language for JSON. You can extract and transform elements from a JSON document. There are a lot of implementations at http://jmespath.org/libraries.html and the CLI implementation is jp.
Finally the CLI for XML:
- XMLStarlet Command Line XML Toolkit: a set of command line utilities that can be used to transform, query, validate, and edit XML documents and files using simple set of shell commands in similar way it is done for plain text files using UNIX grep, sed, awk, diff, patch, join, etc commands. (I used this most recently in https://github.com/emres/turkeyEarthquakeAlerter.)