This week, something short. To run tests, I needed a selection of WAV files. Fortunately for me, I’ve got literally thousands of FLAC files lying around on my computer—yes, I listen to music when I code. So I wrote a simple script that randomly chooses a number of file from a directory tree (and not a single directory) and transcode them from FLAC to WAV. Also very fortunately for me, Bash and the various GNU/Linux utilities make writing a script for this rather easy.
It’s not uncommon to have inordinately deep directory hierarchy on your computer, especially if you’re like me and you like to give significant names to your directory. For example, if you’re using a 80×25 terminal, the location /home/steven/download/Album Photo/2009/06 jui/20-22/21-008-St-Georges-de-la-Malbaie will cause your shell prompt to wrap around the shell window quite messily. Of course, you could show only the last directory’s name, say 21-008-St-Georges-de-la-Malbaie to continue with my previous example, but that’s a bit terse, especially if you end up on a directory whose name is unexpectedly short.
The correct solution, may be, is to arrange the prompt to show adaptively long parts of the current working directory up to a given limit, and abstract parts of the path using, say, ..., and make sure the result is legible. For example, /home/steven/download/Album Photo/2009/06 jui/20-22/21-008-St-Georges-de-la-Malbaie, using a maximum prompt length of 50 would get shortened to .../06 jui/20-22/21-008-St-Georges-de-la-Malbaie, which is already much shorter yet retained its legibility and meaning.