Aurget v4

Aurget was one of the first programs I ever wrote. It’s seen decent adoption as far as AUR helpers go and it’s gradually increased its feature set over the past number of years.

The codebase had gotten a bit krufty and hard to follow. I decided to refactor to more isolated functions which didn’t rely on so many global variables. This directed refactor has improved things greatly: pretty much any function can be reasoned about in isolation and the logic flows more understandably during program execution.

Unintentionally, this push to simplify and clarify actually resulted in a number of user-facing and developer-facing improvements. Go figure.

Listen – I get it. I’m a minimalist too. Why do we need 400 lines to do essentially this?

Funny thing is, no matter how hard I tried to chip aurget down closer to those essential curl | tar | makepkg parts, I would inevitably end up with sprawling, spaghetti code after the very first feature beyond what the above script provides. Available upgrades? Bloat. Dependency resolution? Bloat.

So after trying and giving up a number of times, I’ve decided aurget is actually a fairly simple and straight forward implementation of the features it currently provides, despite being so big.

In my opinion, it can’t get much simpler without dropping features, and I actually like the features. Oh well, back to the post…

Stupid Networking

In so many places, aurget would hit the RPC in a per-package way. Refactoring the networking made it obvious when I could use the multiinfo endpoint to query for many packages at once. This made many actions way faster.

Speaking of networking, it’s now consolidated into a single get function. This means I can more easily play with curl options, error handling or even caching.

Pass the Buck

Package installation is now handled by simply passing --install to makepkg. This has a number of positive consequences: Goodbye sudo, and so long to any configuration around the pacman command. Split packages are also handled predictably and you’ll never have a successful build error with “package not found”.

Moar Options

Aurget will now pass any unknown options directly to makepkg (with a warning). This means anything makepkg supports, aurget supports too.



One of the most frustrating aspects of working with aurget as its maintainer was troubleshooting. It was always both difficult and annoying to figure out what aurget was doing.

With the code now refactored such that the runtime behavior was more linear and understandable, a useful --debug flag could also be added.

I love this so much:

ossvol screenshot 

Bring on the bugs!

Seriously though, there may be some. I changed a whole lot and didn’t test exhaustively… Enjoy!

23 Apr 2013, tagged with arch