Printf debugging helper

Ah yes, printf debugging. If you’re like me and occasionally need to place a dozen “got here”s at once, you may find this, or something like this helpful.

You need some kind of facility to create global shortcuts. If you, like many sensible people in the world, are a KDE user, you’ll find such a facility right in the settings:

Define two shortcuts, perhaps name them “Next” and “Redefine”. Perhaps Meta+Ctrl+Alt+Shift isn’t very ergonomic, but it’s probably unique at least.

Next, we’ll add actions. “Next” should type something like ‘printf(“Got here23”);’, and “redefine” allows you to change the ‘printf(“Got here’ prefix and the ‘”);’ suffix.

Here are two example shell scripts to accomplish this. Dependencies: xclip, xdotool. (Note: these scripts probably won’t work on Wayland, but I’d assume there are Wayland-compatible replacements for these two programs.)


cd $(dirname -- "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}")
touch prefix
touch suffix
touch next_i
i=$(cat next_i)
string_to_type=$(cat prefix; echo -n $i; cat suffix)
sleep 0.8 && xdotool type "$string_to_type"
echo -n $i > next_i


cd $(dirname -- "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}")
touch prefix_or_suffix
prefix_or_suffix=$(cat prefix_or_suffix)
if [ "$prefix_or_suffix" == 1 ]; then
    xclip -o -selection primary > suffix
else # 0 or blank or junk
    xclip -o -selection primary > prefix
echo -n $prefix_or_suffix > prefix_or_suffix
echo -n 1 > next_i

If your system is kind of slow and xdotool’s output gets chopped up somehow, maybe try xdotool key –delay 50. You could also do echo $string_to_type | xclip, and then xdotool to send Ctrl-V in order to paste. That might be a little faster for long strings.

Here’s a short video clip that shows how this works:

By the way, this is the 100th post on this blog. :O

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