Running shell commands to fetch results

Previously, with searx you could search over the Internet on other people’s computers. Now it is possible to fetch results from your local machine without connecting to any networks from the same graphical user interface.

Command line engines

In PR 2128 a new type of engine has been introduced called command. This engine lets administrators add engines which run arbitrary shell commands and show its output on the web UI of searx.

When creating and enabling a command engine on a public searx instance, you must be careful to avoid leaking private data. The easiest solution is to add tokens to the engine. Thus, only those who have the appropriate token can retrieve results from the it.

The engine base is flexible. Only your imagination can limit the power of this engine. (And maybe security concerns.) The following options are available:

  • command: A comma separated list of the elements of the command. A special token {{QUERY}} tells searx where to put the search terms of the user. Example: ['ls', '-l', '-h', '{{QUERY}}']

  • delimiter: A dict containing a delimiter char and the “titles” of each element in keys.

  • parse_regex: A dict containing the regular expressions for each result key.

  • query_type: The expected type of user search terms. Possible values: path and enum. path checks if the uesr provided path is inside the working directory. If not the query is not executed. enum is a list of allowed search terms. If the user submits something which is not included in the list, the query returns an error.

  • query_enum: A list containing allowed search terms if query_type is set to enum.

  • working_dir: The directory where the command has to be executed. Default: .

  • result_separator: The character that separates results. Default: \n

The example engine below can be used to find files with a specific name in the configured working directory.

- name: find
  engine: command
  command: ['find', '.', '-name', '{{QUERY}}']
  query_type: path
  shortcut: fnd
      chars: ' '
      keys: ['line']

Next steps

In the next milestone, support for local search engines and indexers (e.g. Elasticsearch) are going to be added. This way, you will be able to query your own databases/indexers.


This development was sponsored by Search and Discovery Fund of NLnet Foundation .

Happy hacking.
kvch // 2020.09.28 21:26