We “Cheat” And So Should You

I’m the kind of guy who has a tendency to memorize where to find information instead of the information itself. It usually goes something like this:

I love compulsive behavior as much as the next guy – but this does get old after a while, even looking up obscure Ruby methods and Bash commands to satisfy my questionable motivations. You can break the cycle; you can cheat the system.

Err the Cheat

‘cheat’ is a small utility app created by Chris Wanstrath (of Err and GitHub fame) that is basically a command line interface to a simple wiki. It was announced over a year ago and is built on _why’s excellent Camping ‘microframework’ with a YAML backend.

Anyone can create, edit, and modify cheat pages and anyone can call them up via the command line tool like so:


‘cheat’ is a gem and can be installed thusly:

You can check to make sure that everything is copacetic by issuing:

If this works, you’re cheating.


The first thing you should do is check out the all of the available cheat sheets. If there’s something you need that’s not in the list – by all means create your own, it benefits everyone (…or just you depending on how obscure the information is).

You can list the available sheets:

Some sheets of interest include: sed,
awk, git, git-svn, vim, and of course acts_as_taggable_on.

You can call up any of the sheets by name using the cheat command:

Note: each time you access a sheet for the first time it gets cached locally in a .cheat folder in your home folder (This is on OSX, this will still work on windows, but you need to have a HOMEDRIVE or HOMEPATH environment variable set).


You can be compulsive and efficient at the same time – thanks Cheat! Instead of hitting google everytime you need that same obscure ruby/awk/sed/vi reference — just cheat and the system goes from:


Ditch the ambiguous question marks and accelerate your profit$, cheat.

“Please be kind to the wiki. And, uh, keep the cheat sheets Ruby-centric. Bash is okay but Python is banned.” – Chris Wanstrath