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A set of command-line tools that handle not only directories and files, but also archive and compressed files, and even nested archive files. They can even disassemble Java .class files on-the fly and operate on the disassembly.

Tool Documentation


Computes the differences between files, directory trees, archive file entries, compressed files and prints them in various formats; widely compatible with the UNIX™ DIFF command line utility.

Read the command line tool documentation.

Read the ANT task documentation.


Finds files in directory trees and entries in archive files by various criteria; widely compatible with the UNIX™ FIND command line utility.

Read the command line tool documentation (or the plain text version).

Read the ANT task documentation.


Finds lines in files in directory trees and in entries in archive files by regular expressions; widely compatible with the UNIX™ GREP command line utility.

Read the command line tool documentation.

Read the ANT task documentation.


Creates an archive file from a set of given files, directories, and archive entries.

Read the command line tool documentation.

Read the ANT task documentation.


Modifies the contents of files in directory trees and of entries in archive files by various criteria; widely compatible with the UNIX™ PATCH command line utility.

Read the command line tool documentation.

Read the ANT task documentation.

Download and Installation

Runnable JAR files

Latest version of

MS WINDOWS executables

Latest version of

Notice: These executables require an installed JRE; at least version 1.6. They will complain if they cannot find a suitable JRE, and give advice how to get things running.

APACHE ANT libraries

Latest version of

To use the ANT types, insert one of the following lines in your build script:

 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-diff.xml"  classpath="path/to/zz-diff-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar"  />
 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-find.xml"  classpath="path/to/zz-find-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar"  />
 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-grep.xml"  classpath="path/to/zz-grep-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar"  />
 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-pack.xml"  classpath="path/to/zz-pack-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar"  />
 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-patch.xml" classpath="path/to/zz-patch-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar" />

If you use more than one of the tools in your build script, it is more efficient to use the "all-in-one" JAR file:

 <taskdef resource="de/unkrig/zz/zz-all.xml" classpath="path/to/zz-all-x.y.z-jar-with-dependencies.jar" />

Java Library

The ZZ tools also have a public Java API that can be used from by any Java application. You can either download and use this JAR file, or, if you're using MAVEN, put in your "pom.xml" file:


Here is the API documentation:


Source code is available on GITHUB, and also through MAVEN:

The ZZ tools make heavy use of commons.unkrig.de.


ZZ.UNKRIG.DE is published under the "New BSD License".

Change Log

Changes in version 1.3.11-SNAPSHOT (not yet released)
  • -
Changes in version 1.3.10, 2022-12-29
  • Changed handling of "-" to ResourceProcessings.STDIN_URL.
  • ZZDIFF can now handle "-" (stdin) as one of its two inputs.
  • ZZPATCH: --substitute: Removed the concept of the "replacement mode", because the extended replacement syntax just implements the "literal" and "expression" replacement modes.
  • ZZPACK: Added the "--rename" feature.
  • ZZPATCH: Substitution: Replacement mode "REPLACEMENT_STRING" now supports "ext syntax", i.e. "${...}" embedded expressions.
  • ZZPATCH: ExitException message is now "Printers.info()"ed instead of "Printers.verbose()"ed.
  • ZZFIND: Greatly simplified the computation of the expression variables.
  • ZZFIND: Fixed an exception when finding in STDIN: STDIN does not have the properties "readable", "writable" and "executable".
  • ZZFIND: Class file version can now be accessed by "cf.javaVersion".
  • ZZFIND: MAINDOC: Documented the "archiveEntry" variable.
  • ZZGREP: Moved "Grep.lineCounter()" to "ConsumerUtil".
  • ZZGREP: Eliminated the 65536-characters-per-line limit -- finds and counts matches now also in very long lines.
  • ZZPATCH: Added the "--assert-count" condition for updates/substitution replacements/patch hunks/removals/renamings/additions.
  • ZZFIND: Learned that the various ZIP archive libraries return random values for "ZipEntry.getMethod()" and "ZipEntry.getCrc()", thus made the test cases tolerant against these.
  • ZZFIND: Don't print a stack trace on predicate parse errors; only print the error message.
  • ZZPATCH: Added command line options for archive decryption: --7z-input-file-password --zip-input-file-password --password
  • ZZPATCH: Added command line options for archive compression and encryption: --zip-output-entry-compression-level --zip-output-file-password --zip-output-file-encryption-method
  • ZZFIND: Added short command line option for archive decryption: --password
  • ZZFIND: Added the "-version" command line option.
  • ZZGREP: Added command line options "--input-encoding" and "--output-encoding". (Previously, the output encoding was not configurable.)
  • ZZGREP: Fixed the printing of "--" separator lines between context-grep chunks.
  • ZZFIND: MAINDOC: Documented priority of operators.
  • ZZFIND: CatAction: Entries that have no input stream (e.g. directories or directory archive entries) are silently ignored, because that is practical: Otherwise, you'd always have to put "-type normal*" right before the "-cat" action.
  • ZZFIND: -copy action: Now ignore entries that have no input stream (e.g. directories or directory archive entries), because that is practical: Otherwise, you'd always have to put "-type normal*" right before the "-copy" action.
  • ZZFIND: -copy action: Attempt to restore each file's "last modification date", too.
  • ZZPATCH: Unified DIFF format: Some DIFF tools (namely GNU diffutils 3.5) put a TAB character (instead of a SPACE) between the file name and the date.
  • ZZFIND: Added "--toFile" option to "-disassemble".
  • ZZFIND: Added new variable "archiveEntry".
  • ZZFIND: Added action "-java-class-file".
  • ZZFIND: Added expression variable "compressionMethod" (for archive entries).
Changes in version 1.3.9, 2020-11-06
  • Updated jdisasm to 1.0.6.
  • Updated de.unkrig.commons to 1.2.15.
  • Removed the generation of the "...-antlib.jar" file, because "...-jar-with-dependencies.jar" can be used as an ANTLIB as well.
  • Fixed the file type in the output of -ls.
  • Added expression variables "readable", "writable" and "executable".
  • Adapted to an incompatible API change in "commons-file" (all content processing was augmented with an optional "lastModifiedDate" parameter).
  • Fixed an NPE that occurred with 7Z archive entries that have NO modification date set.
  • ZZFIND now compiles with JDK 1.8 (before it was 1.6).
  • Major refactoring: Replaced "Mappings properties" with "Map<String, Function<Object, Object>> properties.
  • Implemented the new expression variables "_map", "_keys" and "_values".
  • Context diff: The "hunk separator line" ("--") was missing.
  • Actions that read the contents of a document (-cat, -copy, -disassemble, -digest, -checksum) didn't for "normal-file" documents.
  • "--nowarn", "--quiet", "--verbose" and "--debug" now not only configure the "Printers", but also "SimpleLogging".
  • Added the "--replacementMode" option which allows for more complex replacements than the java.util.regex.Matcher can offer
Changes in version 1.3.8, 2019-10-09
  • zzgrep: Implemented "-e".
  • zzgrep: Implemented "--byte-offset", "--with-path", "--no-path", "--label", "--line-number", "--after-context", "--before-context" and "--context".
  • <zzpatch> Ant task: "<substitution><regex>..." and "...<replacement>...": Property "replacement" was missing for "addText()".
  • Major refactoring of "zz.Find" - removed tons of copied code.
  • zzfind: Improved handling of corrupt archives and compressed contents.
Changes in version 1.3.7, 2019-08-05
  • In addition to "...-jar-with-dependencies.jar", generate a "...-antlib.jar" file, where the ANT classes are NOT included.
  • The "-copy" action now supports a "--append" (alias "-a") modifier.
  • Now using "ExpressionEvaluator.parseExt()".
  • Added "--printf" command line action.
  • Fixed the "line equivalence" and the "ignore" feature; both were accidentially broken with revision 6980 (affects only release 1.3.5).
  • The "zz-diff" command line tool now also accepts URLs on its command line.
  • "--verbose" had no effect; now it prints the names of files and archive entries that are searched.
Changes in Version 1.3.6, 2018-07-24
  • Added a test case for "zzpatch --substitute --iff".
  • Substitution conditions now support a new variable, "occurrence".
  • Added a "<condition>" subelement on the "<substitution>" element. This is useful, e.g., to replace only the FIRST match.
  • For conformance with GREP, exit with status 2 (not 1) on errors.
  • <zzfind>: Added the "<prune />" and "<delete />" subelements.
  • zzfind: Renamed option "--depth" to "--descendants-first" (and left the original as an alias).
  • <zzfind>: Renamed the depth="..." attribute to descendantsFirst="...".
  • Added the "-prune" and "-delete" actions.
  • Added "&&" and "-and" as aliases for "-a".
  • Added "||" and "-or" as aliases for "-o".
  • Added options "da-verbose", "da-source-directory" and "da-symbolic-labels".
  • Continue with next archive entry on IOException.
  • ZZGREP: When run with a list file-or-dirs, only every second file-or-dir was searched.
Changes in version 1.3.4, 2017-02-03
  • Added a workaround for: MS WINDOWS 7: Read-protected directory produces: isDirectory() => true canRead() => true list() => null listFiles() => null (Caused NPEs.)
  • ZZDIFF: Bug fixed: Document DIFF was always UNIFIED, regardless of the document diff mode setting.
  • Change version of de.unkrig.commons from "1.2.6-SNAPSHOT" to "1.2.7-SNAPSHOT" (because THAT is the correct post-1.2.6 version).
  • Renamed "namePredicate" to "pathPredicate".
  • Replaced the "name=..." attribute with "path=...", and marked the old attribute as @deprecated.
  • The "pathPredicate" was missing from content processors.
  • Generate ANTDOC only for the "zz-all" module, not for "zz-(diff|find|grep|pack|patch)" individually. Saves on build time, and reduces redundant documentation.
Changes in version 1.3.3, 2016-11-28
  • Removed unnecessary dependency on "jdisasm".
  • Fixed the classpath for zz-all antdoc.
  • Added the "--no-recurse-subdirctories" command line option.
  • Extracted the "DOcumentDiff" class from the "Diff" class.
  • Added task attribute "recurseSubdirectories=false".
  • Added the "Diff.diff(path1, path2, stream1, stream2)" method.
Changes in version 1.3.2, 2016-11-25
  • Added test cases for ZZDIFF.
  • Added "Diff.execute(String path1, String path2, ...)" to allow for custom "path1" and "path2" strings when reporting differences.
  • Improved many "DiffException"s' messages.
  • Slightly clarified the wording of the license: Replaced "author" with "copyright holder and its contributors".
  • Include project name and version in APIDOC's "-header" and "-footer".
Changes in version 1.3.1, 2016-11-07
  • The JVM (sometimes) did not terminate when it is shut down orderly (i.e. "main()" returns or "System.exit()" is invoked).
  • Added the "launch4j" maven plugin that creates MS WINDOWS executables from the runnable JAR files.
  • Made the scope of the "ant" dependency "provided", so that the classes of "ant.jar" don't get into the "jar-with-dependencies".
  • Added JAVADOC "overview.html" files for the five zz tools.
  • ZZFIND: Made many methods and nested types PUBLIC, so they can be used via the Java API.
  • Moved ANTDOC generation from "zz-parent/build.ant" to "zz-parent/pom.xml".
  • Added "zz-all", which is an aggregation of the five ZZ tools.
Changes in version 1.3.0, 2016-10-30
  • ZZFIND, <zzfind>: Line separator was missing from the "LS" action.
  • ZZFIND, <zzfind>: Added the "-digest" and "-checksum" actions.
  • ZZFIND: Allow combinations of file names and "-" (STDIN).
  • <zzfind>: Added "<true/>" and "<false/>".
  • ZZFIND: Added "-true" and "-false".
  • <zzfind>: The expression subelements are now named ANT components.
  • ZZFIND: Variable substitution (in "-echo" and "-copy") now supports "@variableName" in addition to "@{variable-name}".
  • ZZDIFF, <zzdiff>: Added options "addedFile" and "deletedFile" which supersede "newFile" and "unidirectionalNewFile".
  • <zzpatch>: File/entry renaming did not work (flag Glob.REPLACEMENT was missing).
  • <zzfind>: Renamed the "<path>" expression component to "<path_>" to avoid a name clash with the global type with the same name.
  • Switched from the old ANT build to MAVEN.
Changes in version 1.2.5, 2016-02-12
  • ZZFIND, <zzfind>: Added the "depth" property.
  • ZZFIND, <zzfind>: Added the "comma operator", "-mtime", "-depth", "-minDepth" and "-maxDepth".
Changes in version 1.2.4, 2016-02-10
  • <zzpatch>: "condition=..." is now an attribute of the <patch> subelement, not the task.
  • zzdiff: Added command line option "--normal".
  • All pathes: Compressed file names and compressed contents paths are now suffixed with '%' (instead of '!') to circumvent problems with "Glob"'s directory prefix mechanism.
  • ZZFIND on STDIN threw exceptions, because "-ls" requires "isDirectory", "size", etc.
  • ZZFIND: Parsing of special command line argument "-" (for "STDIN") didn't work.
  • ZZGREP: The "-quiet" command line option did not have any effect.
Changes in version 1.2.3, 2015-09-27
  • ZZFIND command line tool: Option "--look-into": Glob was compiled WITHOUT the WILDCARD|INCLUDES_EXCLUDES flag.
Changes in version 1.2.2, 2015-09-27
  • ZZPATCH ant task: Removed attribute "memberName=..." from subelement "<add>", because the ant task does not traverse directories (opposed to the command line version), and thus adding members to directories is not possible.
  • ZZDIFF: Fixed some NPEs that occurred when files / entries are EXCLUDED.
  • ZZFIND: Added the "DisassembleAction" (disassembles a Java .class file).
  • Generate and publish HTML documentation for ANT tasks with ANTDOC.
Changes in version 1.2.1, 2015-05-24
  • FIND: Command line tool and ANT task now continue with next directory member on IOExceptions.
  • DIFF: Added the "tokenization" configuration parameter, which allows for Java token-based DIFFing.
  • DIFF: Added the "ignoreCStyleComments" and "ignoreCPlusPlusStyleComments" configuration option (relevant iff "tokenization" is "JAVA").
  • The classes for the 'zzpack' ant task were missing from the jar file.
  • ZZFIND ant task: Added the "file=..." and "dir=..." attributes.
  • ZZFIND: Added the "<echo message=...>" and "<property name=... value=...>" actions.
Changes in version 1.2.0, 2015-04-30
  • "ArchiveFormatFactory" and "CompressionFormatFactory" now register "URLStreamHandler"s for all archive and compression formats, so these can be used as "protocols" of "java.net.URL", e.g. "zip:file:foo.zip!file.txt".
  • Major refactoring of 'de.unkrig.commons.file.fileprocessing' and 'de.unkrig.commons.file.contentsprocessing'. Effectively, ZZGREP can now use these classes, because 'process()' now returns 'T'.
  • Renamed the following classes for consistency with 'java.util.Collections', '...Arrays', etc.:
    • ContentsProcessingUtil => ContentsProcessings
    • ContentsTransformerUtil => ContentsTransformations
    • FileProcessingUtil => FileProcessings
    • FileTransformationUtil => FileTransformations
  • ANT integration: Added the '<patch>' filter (for use in ANT 'filter chain's).
  • ANT integration: Added the 'condition' property to the '<zzpatch>' task.
  • ZZDIFF: Added the "-sequential" command line option.
  • <zzdiff>: Replaced the 'lookInto[Nested](Zip|Gzip)="..."' attributes with the (more flexible) 'lookInto="..."' attribute.
  • <zzdiff>: Replaced the "<exclude>" subelements with the "path=..." attribute, eliminating the unusual "negative" logic.
Changes in version 1.1.0, 2014-10-25
  • zzpatch: No file arguments mean 'transform STDIN to STDOUT'.
  • zzpatch: Added 'conditions' for the 'substitute', 'replace', 'patch', 'remove', 'rename' and 'add' features.
  • zzpatch: Added 'dontSortDirectoryMembers' feature.
  • de.unkrig.commons.file: Thanks to apache.commons.compress, we now not only support the ZIP archive format and the GZIP compression algorithm, but also the AR, ARJ, CPIO, DUMP, JAR, TAR and SEVEN_Z archive formats and the BZIP2, PACK200, XZ, LZMA, SNAPPY and Z compression algorithms.
  • <zzpatch>, <zzgrep>: Removed the 'dir="..."' and 'sortDirectoryMembers="..."' attributes from these ANT tasks because recursing directories is ANT's job.
  • <zzpatch>, <zzgrep>: Replaced the 'lookInto[Nested](Zip|Gzip)="..."' attributes with the (more flexible) 'lookInto="..."' attribute.
  • <zzgrep>: Removed the "dir=..." attribute.
Changes in version 1.0.11, 2014-04-12
  • ZZDIFF: Added option '-unchanged-files' resp. ANT task attribute 'reportUnchangedFiles="true"': Also report unchanged files.
  • ZZDIFF: Added '-zip' and '-nested-zip' command line options - aliases for '-z' and '-zz'.
  • ZZFIND: Added the '-copy' action - similar to '-cat', but copies the data bytewise.
  • <zzfind>: Added a '<sequential>' subelement.
  • <zzgrep>: Added attributes 'file="..."' and 'dir="..."'
  • <zzpatch>: Added attributes 'file="..."', 'tofile="..."', 'dir="..."' and 'todir="..."'
  • de.unkrig.commons.util: <simplelogging>: Added attribute 'spec="..."'.
  • <zzgrep>: Added attribute 'property="..."'.
  • <zzgrep>: Added subelement '<search name="..." regex="..." caseSensitive="..."/>'
  • <zzgrep>: Made the 'case sensitivity logic' POSITIVE.
  • <zzgrep>: Removed the '<include>' and '<exclude>' subelements in favor of 'name="..."'.
  • <zzgrep>: 'name="..."', 'regex="..."' and 'caseSensitive="..."' are now mutually exclusive with '<search>' subelements.
  • <zzgrep>: Runtime optimization: Now only the files to which at least one search applies are processed.
Changes in version 1.0.10, 2014-03-22
  • ZZDIFF: Added option '-keep-going' resp. ANT task attribute 'keepGoing="true"': Report errors and continue with next file.
Changes in version 1.0.9, 2014-03-20
  • COMMONS.UTIL: Added the SIMPLELOGGING task that was missing from 'antlib.xml'.
  • COMMONS.FILE: Inserted lots of logging.
  • ZZPATCH: Added the <regex> and <replacement> subelements to <substitute>: Alternative to the 'regex=...' and 'replacement=...' attributes. The major advantage of the subelements is that they can contain '<![CDATA[...]]>' sections where you don't have to SGML-escape special characters.
  • ZZPATCH: Added lots of logging to make ANT build file debugging easier.
  • ZZPATCH: Contents substitution is no longer line-wise, but allows for multi-line matching and replacement.
  • ZZFIND: Now searching STDIN iff no file specified.
  • ZZDIFF: Added diff mode 'EXIST', which is like diff mode 'QUIET' but ignores CONTENT differences.
Changes in version 1.0.8, 2013-11-29
  • ZZDIFF: Absent file modes COMPARE_*_WITH_EMPTY: Added and deleted directories were counted as difference, although they shouldn't.
Changes in version 1.0.7, 2013-11-26
  • The ZZ tools now live in ONE jar file; there is a new 'Main' class that forks into the various tools
  • Renamed the tasks from 'de.unkrig.zz.diff' to 'zzdiff'.
  • ZZDIFF: Absent file modes COMPARE_ADDED_AND_DELETED_WITH_EMPTY and COMPARE_ADDED_WITH_EMPTY: Added and deleted DIRECTORIES are now treated as EMPTY directories.
  • ZZDIFF: Added ANT task property 'property'.
Changes in version 1.0.6, 2013-10-02
  • ZZPATCH: '-patch' now preserves line separators (instead of silently replacing them with the default line separator).
Changes in version 1.0.5, 2013-10-01
  • ZZDIFF: Added the 'encoding' attribute to the ant task.
  • ZZFIND: Added the missing '<cat>' and '<ls>' actions to the ant task.
  • ZZFIND: Added the '-encoding' option to the command line tool.
  • ZZGREP: Added the 'encoding' attribute to the ant task.
  • ZZGREP: Added the '-encoding' option to the command line tool.
  • ZZPATCH: Added 'inputEncoding' and 'outputEncoding' to 'substitution' and 'patch'.
  • ZZPATCH: Added 'patchFileEncoding' to 'patch'.
  • ZZPATCH: '-substitute' now preserves line separators (instead of silently replacing them with the default line separator).
Changes in version 1.0.4, 2013-09-22
  • ZZFIND: The 'readable', 'writable', 'size' and 'modificationTime' tests were missing from the ANT task
Changes in version 1.0.3, 2013-09-22
  • ZZDIFF: Added the 'absentFileMode' option (a.k.a. as '-new-file' and '-unidirectional-new-file').
  • SimpleLogging: VERBOSE messages were not printed because the OUT_HANDLER was misconfigured.
Changes in version 1.0.2, 2013-07-05
  • Fixed a major bug: 'SelectiveContentsTransfomer' executed BOTH delegates when the predicate evaluates to FALSE. This didn't hurt in many cases, but for 'zzpatch -update' it did.
Changes in version 1.0.1, 2013-06-14
  • Major refactoring of 'de.unkrig.commons'.
Version 1.0.0, 2012-10-03

Initial release.