chat-cli: renamed and added Ollama support

I have added support for Ollama to my chat-cli tool (formerly named cli-chatgpt, see previous posts). Ollama is a very easy way to run llama2 locally; it runs a local HTTP server and this will be used.

Depending on whether an OpenAI key or Ollama are available, the models will be made available and you can see this in cgt -h. (Using cgt as a command here is based on my recommendation of using an alias in your shell.)

When you’re offline, OpenAI is deemed unavailable, thus–if it is installed and active–Ollama/llama2 will be used automatically. While it currently doesn’t switch between models during a conversation (because of your online state), you can simply exit and re-continue the conversation with another model using cgt -l.

Both models show their responses in a streaming way.

❯ cgt where is gerolstein
Model: gpt-3.5-turbo
> where is gerolstein

Gerolstein is a town in the Bitburg-Prüm district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is located in the Eifel mountain range, approximately 15 kilometers southeast of Bitburg.
> ^c

### Went offline here.
❯ cgt where is gerolstein
Model: llama2:latest
> where is gerolstein

 Gerolstein is a town located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated in the northern part of the state, approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of the city of Mainz. The exact address of Gerolstein is:

Gerolstein, Germany

If you are planning to visit Gerolstein or need more detailed information, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

While there is no config available, you can change the priority of models in the source.

New Unit Tests Need to Fail (Running the Old Code)

When possible, I very much recommend adding unit tests to a Pull Request when you fix something as a way to prevent that it breaks again in future. This is no news.

One important step of adding that unit test, though, is to make sure it actually tests the bug you are fixing. Specifically, this means that you need to test that fact like this:

Keep the new unit test, undo the other code changes. The unit test now needs to fail.

If your newly introduced unit test still passes, then you didn’t expose the bug in the test. A simple check but often neglected.

A tooling solution

Here is how you can automatically test this in Github. I have created a sample repo with 3 pull requests

3 Pull requests of which one fails the unit tests

You can see the first one failed:

A screenshot of a Github Action that has a unit test passing when it shouldn't

The problem is that the old code already passes the new tests. This means the tests don’t test the change.

The second one passes but only because no new tests were added at all.

A screenshot of a Github Action that skipps testing without the unit test changes because no new unit test was added

And the third one does it correctly. The old code fails the new tests as desired:

A screenshot of a Github Action that has correctly fails the unit test when running the old code

Here is the code for the Github Action to test this:

name: Pull Request Unit Test Validation

      - opened
      - synchronize

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

      - name: Checkout code
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Set up Python
        uses: actions/setup-python@v2
          python-version: 3.9

      - name: Run unit tests with changes
        run: python -m unittest discover -s tests

    needs: test-changes
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    if: ${{ github.event_name == 'pull_request' }}

      - name: PR commits + 1
        run: echo "PR_FETCH_DEPTH=$(( ${{ github.event.pull_request.commits }} + 1 ))" >> "${GITHUB_ENV}"

      - name: Checkout PR branch and all PR commits
        uses: actions/checkout@v3
          ref: ${{ github.event.pull_request.head.sha }}
          fetch-depth: ${{ env.PR_FETCH_DEPTH }}

      - name: Set up Python
        uses: actions/setup-python@v2
          python-version: 3.9

      - name: 'Fetch the other branch with enough history for a common merge-base commit'
        run: git fetch origin ${{ github.event.pull_request.base.ref }}

      - name: Check if tests were changed
        run: |
          git restore --source=$(git merge-base origin/${{ github.event.pull_request.base.ref }} HEAD) --worktree tests/
          if git diff --quiet; then
            echo "TESTS_CHANGED=0" >> "${GITHUB_ENV}"
            echo "TESTS_CHANGED=1" >> "${GITHUB_ENV}"
          git restore .

      - name: Revert code changes (excluding tests)
        run: git restore --source=$(git merge-base origin/${{ github.event.pull_request.base.ref }} HEAD) --worktree :^tests/
        if: ${{ env.TESTS_CHANGED }} == '1'

      - name: Run unit tests without changes
        run: |
          if [[ ${{ env.TESTS_CHANGED }} -eq 0 ]]; then
            echo "No unit test changes detected, skipping"
            exit 0

          if python -m unittest discover -s tests; then
            echo "Unit test should not pass"
            exit 1
            echo "Unit test failed as expected"

Thanks @jesusamieiro-com for pointing out that you need to be careful with this for code that adds new test coverage. Probably best to use a Github label to activate or deactivate this action.

Resuming ChatGPT chats in CLI

I have issued an update to my CLI ChatGPT Client (see when I first announced it) so that you can now resume conversations. Here is the new --help output (I personally have an alias cgt=path/to/chat.php to have it quickly available):

Usage: chat.php [-l] [-r [number]] [-s system_prompt] [conversation_input]

  -l                 Resume last conversation.
  -r [number]        Resume a previous conversation and list 'number' conversations (default: 10).
  -s [system_prompt] Specify a system prompt preceeding the conversation.

  conversation_input  Input for the first conversation.

  - To input multiline messages, send an empty message.
  - To end the conversation, enter "bye".

Example usage:
  chat.php -l
    Resumes the last conversation.

  chat.php -r 5
    Resume a conversation and list the last 5 to choose from.

  chat.php -s "Only respond in emojis"
    Have an interesting conversation 🙂

  chat.php Tell me a joke
    Starts a new conversation with the given message.

The CLI client uses a streaming response, so you can watch as it generates your answer.

The resuming functionaliy also changed re-arranges the history in the chat cli folder to a structure chats/%Y/%M/history.%U.txt (with %Y being a 4-digit year, %M a two-digit month and %U the unix timestamp when it was started). The prompt is readline compatibly with a history file so that you can quickly reuse previous questions. You can avoid something to be added to history by prepending it with whitespace.

chat.php -l will quickly resume the last conversation but you can also resume other ones:

$ cgt -r 3                                                                                                                                                     Resuming a conversation. Please choose one: 

1) is there an alternative to the logwatch program that can send daily e-mails with reports on log file (1 answer, 248 words)

2) please give me javascript that restarts a video when i click on it (2 answers, 237 words)

3) does a one-letter domain like (specifically) cost more than other .org domains? (3 answers, 253 words)

Please enter the number of the conversation you want to resume (m for more):

To me, it is very powerful to have ChatGPT available in the CLI since I always have a terminal open. Keeping searchable local history is also something that I like for later (offline) reference.

Using Text Expansion for URL Completion

In my professional life on the web, I tend to visit lots of the same URLs frequently. While I have (most of) them bookmarked in my browser, I usually don’t navigate to the bookmark and click it.

I start typing in the URL field of my browser (Firefox) and since autosuggest also searches the bookmarks, those are often visible. I realized though that this is still often too slow and not straight forward enough: It happens that many URLs are very similar and have the same first part, such as on Github many repos are under the same organization.

So a while ago I started using Alfred’s snippets to expand URLs for me. By using / as a suffix1, this allows for speedy expansion of URLs I visit frequently. A bonus is that the same expansion works in other places where I need the URL, e.g. for linking it in blog posts.

So, for example, I have the snippet g/a/ to expand to If I then continue typing fr, my browser can autocomplete much more precisely because I have already entered part of the URL to which I often visit.

Hope this can serve as an inspiration!

  1. Although I natively speak German, I have switched to US (Intl for the inverted-L Enter key, I cannot let got of that one) keyboards a long time ago to benefit from dedicated keys for square and curly brackets, this also means I have a dedicated key for slash ↩︎

Letting ChatGPT Access the Internet

With the new Completions function calling API you can actually enable ChatGPT to access the internet. I did a few quick experiments where I provided it with a function called get_extracted_url_contents. See how it made use of it:

Get News


$ php get-news.php

Prompt: Get some news from a random US news website on the internet.
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (239 tokens used):
According to CNN, the breaking news is that the former US president has been arraigned on 37 federal charges involving the alleged mishandling of highly classified military documents. This is a historic first.

Or from a German website:

Prompt: Get some news from a random German news website on the internet. Please only respond in English.
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (1363 tokens used):
Here are some news headlines from SPIEGEL International:

  1. “Ukraine’s President Calls on NATO to Set Clear ‘Red Lines’ for Russia” – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged NATO to establish clear “red lines” to deter further aggression from Russia. Zelensky made these remarks during a visit to Brussels.
  2. “German Cabinet Approves New COVID-19 Restrictions, Including Nationwide Vaccination Mandate” – The German government has approved new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including a nationwide vaccination mandate for certain groups of people. These measures come as Germany faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.
  3. “Turkey Summons German Ambassador Over ‘AfD-Led’ Turkish Ship Inspection” – Turkey has summoned the German ambassador to protest against the inspection of a Turkish ship by a German frigate in the Mediterranean Sea. The inspection was led by a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
  4. “European Court of Justice Rules Hungary’s NGO Law Violates EU Law” – The European Court of Justice has ruled that Hungary’s controversial law that restricts the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) violates EU law. The law required NGOs that receive funding from abroad to register as “foreign-funded organizations.”

Please note that these are just a few selected headlines. For more information, you can visit the SPIEGEL International website.

One more try for a specific site:

Prompt: Get some news from ORF. Please only respond in English.
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (1286 tokens used):
Here are some news headlines from ORF:

  1. Document affair: Trump declares “not guilty”
  2. Babler presents his new team
  3. Johnson vs. Sunak: Insults keeping the British on edge
  4. Slovenia wants to keep borders with Croatia open
  5. WKStA secures data in the Chancellor’s Office
  6. Alaba is about to reach the next milestone
  7. Alpine climate in winter is significantly too mild
  8. IAEA “very concerned” about fighting near Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
  9. NATO hopes Ukrainian successes will force Moscow to negotiate

Please note that these are only the headlines and more details can be found on the ORF website.

Summarize URLs


$ php summarize-url.php
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (1340 tokens used):
Matrix is an open-source internet-based chat system that operates on a federated model similar to email. It allows users to send and receive messages through homeservers, which maintain up-to-date copies of chat rooms. Matrix rooms can be either unencrypted and openly discoverable or end-to-end encrypted and invite-only, with encryption keys shared between users’ client software. There is a wide selection of Matrix clients available for different platforms, and a WordPress plugin called Chatrix has been developed to embed Matrix into WordPress posts or pages.



Here it required several runs to get the right response since it tried to access a lot of invalid URLs. But it eventually managed.

$ php research.php
Prompt: Research on the internet who won the ATP French Open 2023 but don’t use a search engine.
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (1085 tokens used):
According to the information on the Wikipedia page for the 2023 French Open, Novak Djokovic won the ATP Men’s Singles championship.

Things also worked out in the end when I gave it the ability to do multipel requests:

$ php research.php
Prompt: Research on wikipedia who won the (both men’s and women’s) ATP French Open 2023. If you cannot find a result, ask for a subsequent a function call.
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.PHP Warning: file_get_contents( Failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found

Fetching by request of ChatGPT.PHP Warning: file_get_contents( Failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Fetching by request of ChatGPT.
AI (1630 tokens used):
The winner of the men’s singles ATP French Open 2023 is Novak Djokovic, and the winner of the women’s singles ATP French Open 2023 is Iga Świątek.

This has been just a quick exploration following OpenAI’s announcement. Curious how we’ll leverage this better in future!

CLI ChatGPT Client in PHP

For my personal use, I created a CLI ChatGPT client a few months ago. It has been very useful for me to have it available in the CLI quickly whenever I needed it (caveat, you need an API key!).

Unfortunately, for larger responses it can feel very slow, whereas the web version feels quite fast. But this is perceived speed because it shows you each word as it arrives and not just the whole response when finished (after all it is a completion AI that generates the response word by word).

So now, I have added streaming support to it. It now feels almost too fast :) The CLI has a few nice things such as readline support (i.e. you can go back to old queries with the up key) and it keeps all of your conversation in a text file. All of this in only 100 lines of PHP.

What is Matrix?

I am working on bringing Matrix to the WordPress community (see also the WP Tavern post) and part of this is also to explain what Matrix actually is, so I wrote up a few paragraphs that I’d like to share here:

Matrix is an internet-based chat system like Slack or Microsoft Teams with a few key differences:

Open Source

It is open source (Apache License 2.0). Thus it includes the four freedoms (run it for any purpose, modify it, distribute it or a modified version).


There is no centrally controlled server, similar to e-mail (or ActivityPub): to send and receive e-mail, you need to have an account on a mail server. In Matrix, these servers are called homeservers.

When you send messages, these messages are first sent from your client (computer or phone) to the server, from the server to the recipients’ servers (in e-mail, you manually list them, in Matrix, these are all other people in the room), and then the messages are delivered to the individual participant’s clients. The benefit of this is that the client (like a mobile phone app) doesn’t need to be connected when the server receives the message and can catch up when it comes back online. 

For this reason, Matrix account addresses look similar to e-mail (or Mastodon) addresses but they have the format @username:server.tld. Starting when a member of a homeserver joins a room, their homeserver will maintain a full, up-to-date copy of the chat room. Any message sent by others in the room will be sent to every participating homeserver. For this reason, joining a room can take a while because the server needs to (partially) populate its local copy from other homeservers. Because of the real-time nature of chat, the messages are exchanged very quickly between the homeservers as soon as that connection has been established.

A Matrix server can also be run in unfederated mode where it will not communicate with other servers on the internet, thus enabling a closed community. This decision can also be made on a room-by-room basis.


Matrix rooms can be either unencrypted and openly discoverable, or end-to-end encrypted and invite-only. Because the server has no knowledge of contents or encryption keys, the latter need to be shared between the individual client software of a user. This is established through a verification step in which you use your other/old client to establish trust with the new one. Until this has happened, any encrypted communication is inaccessible.

Open Protocol

The Matrix protocol (and all of its updates, called MSC) is publicly available and can be implemented by any software. There are a couple of server implementations with best known ones by Element themselves, called Synapse (Python based) and Dendrite (Go based). Clients are easier to implement through Matrix provided SDKs that do the heavy lifting of encryption and protocol communication.

Free Choice of Clients

For the above reason, there is a wide selection of clients for mobile and desktop, different operating systems, text based, etc. We have developed a WordPress plugin called Chatrix that allows embedding Matrix inside a WordPress post or page which allows something like we demonstrated in this GIF:

Keeping Family History with WordPress

One thing that I like very much about my family is the anecdotes and stories. One thing that I am bad at, is reciting them.

So I had this idea to create something like a private Wikipedia for my family, where each person has their own page and family members can contribute to the stories, biographical data, and media.

Initially, I set up a MediaWiki, i.e. the same software that Wikipedia uses. It turns out, it’s not that easy to configure. The new Wiki editor is much better than directly editing wiki syntax but the complexity is high for a small project like that. Also, uploading media is quite a pain because of the importance of licensing metadata. In a private wiki, you’ll want the UI to get out of the way.

So, since I work with WordPress a lot, I had the idea to use WordPress for it. There are a number of wiki plugins for WordPress but they all seemed overly complex and not really geared towards a use case of users collaborating on creating a site.

Thus, I created my own WordPress plugin called Family Wiki, available for now at

WordPress has the advantage that you can set it up very quickly and got many options for setting it up. Plus, when you have already multiple blogs (e.g. for family members) on your domain, it’s easy to just add another blog to your WordPress multisite. The plugin works on a standalone blog, too.

Here are some screenshots that I made as a demo: