Home Command line utilities ppl – A Command Line Address book For Linux

ppl – A Command Line Address book For Linux

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 2.6K views

A while ago, we have reviewed a command line tool called "GooBook" which is used to access google contacts from the command line. Using GooBook, you can access and view all Gmail contacts. Today, we are going to discuss a similar tool called "ppl". It is a free command line address book that allows you to store your contacts in Unix-like operating systems. To simply put, ppl is developed for the people who wants to keep and maintain their address book  from command line.

ppl - A Command Line Address book For Linux

Installing ppl

Since ppl is built on top of Ruby and Git, you need to them first. To Install Ruby on your Linux box, refer the following link.

Next, install Git on your Linux system.

On CentOS:

$ sudo yum install git

On Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install git

After installing Ruby and Git, run the following command to install ppl.

$ gem install ppl

Sample output:

 Fetching: colored-1.2.gem (100%)
 Successfully installed colored-1.2
 Fetching: inifile-2.0.2.gem (100%)
 Successfully installed inifile-2.0.2
 Fetching: i18n-0.8.1.gem (100%)
 Successfully installed i18n-0.8.1
 Fetching: polyglot-0.3.5.gem (100%)
 Successfully installed polyglot-0.3.5
 Fetching: treetop-1.4.15.gem (100%)
 Successfully installed treetop-1.4.15
 Done installing documentation for colored, inifile, i18n, polyglot, treetop, mime-types, mail, morphine, rugged, greencard, ppl after 23 seconds
 11 gems installed

If you encountered with an error something like below:

ERROR: CMake is required to build Rugged.
*** extconf.rb failed ***

Install Cmake package as shown below.

On CentOS:

$ sudo yum install cmake

On Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install cmake

After installing, Cmake re-run "gem install ppl" command.

Recommended Download - Free eBook: "Git Tutorial"


ppl usage is fairly simple. Have a look at the following examples.

Create Address book

Let us create an address book to store all contacts.

To do so, run:

$ ppl init ~/mycontacts

This command will create a folder called mycontacts in your $HOME folder. You can use any location of your choice for your address book and also you can create any number of address books.

Add contacts

We have created an address book. Now, let us add some contacts. To do so, go to your address book folder (i.e mycontacts in our case):

$ cd ~/mycontacts

Add the contacts one by one as shown below.

$ ppl add apj "Abdul Kalam"
$ ppl add sk "Senthil Kumar"

Similarly, you can add as many contacts as you want. All contacts will be stored in vcard address book (vcf) format.

Store contact details

We have added contacts. Let us add the contact details such as Email, Phone number etc.

To do so, run:

$ ppl email apj apj@wingsoffire.com
$ ppl email sk senthilkumar@ostechnix.com
$ ppl phone sk 0123456789
$ ppl org sk "OSTechNix"

Show a contact details

To view/show a contact details, run:

$ ppl show sk

Sample output:

Senthil Kumar <senthilkumar@ostechnix.com>


Email Addresses:

Phone Numbers

List all contacts

To view all list of contacts in your address book, run:

$ ppl ls

Sample output would be:

apj: Abdul Kalam <apj@wingsoffire.com>
sk: Senthil Kumar <senthilkumar@ostechnix.com>

Edit contacts

Just in case, if there are any corrections in contact details, you can edit and correct them as well.

To change a particular contact's ID, say for example apj, run:

$ ppl mv apj missileman

This command changes the contact ID apj to missileman.

To verify it, list the contacts:

$ ppl ls


missileman: Abdul Kalam <apj@wingsoffire.com>
sk: Senthil Kumar <senthilkumar@ostechnix.com>

As you see above, the ID apj has been renamed to missileman.

Similarly, you can change the contact's name as shown below.

$ ppl name Senthil Kumar "Palani"

The above command will change the name "Senthil Kumar" to "Palani".

It's also possible to change a contact's Email id.

$ ppl email sk senthil@senthil.org

And, we can add/edit the date of birth of a contact too.

ppl bday apj 1931-10-15

Search address book

You can search through your address book with a particular search term to find out the details of a specific contact as shown below.

$ ppl grep senthil

The above command will search on the address book for all contacts that matches with the search term "senthil".

Sample output:


Delete contacts

To remove any contacts, just run:

$ ppl rm sk

Set default address book

Some of you might want to keep multiple address books for various purpose. I used to keep two address books, one for personal contacts, and another one for professional contacts.

In such cases, you can define your default address book for storing contacts. To do so, create a file called pplconfig:

$ vi ~/.pplconfig

Add the following lines. Replace ~/mycontacts with your own path.

[address book]
path = ~/mycontacts

This tells the ppl utility to save all contacts in the default address book (i.e~/mycontacts) even after you cd into another directory.

For more details, refer ppl documentation guide.


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