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wow, I should read the bash manual, autocd and cdspell seem to be very useful... But it appears that my function solution also allows for the user typing a partial directory name and hitting enter. If the DIRLIST is crafted well enough with the most important directories listed first, then your option will be a few <enter> keys away...
Then again, if you install the bash-completion scripts, they probably allow you to tab complete a prefix if it's in your CDPATH.
this is a bit off of what you're asking, but the tab key is the auto complete.
if you want to change dir or whatever type the command then the first few characters then hit tab, it will work up/down the directory tree
In the old days of M$-DOS, there was the NCD (Norton Change Directory) utility. Anything of the sort in Linux? Explanatory note: you typed out the name of the directory you wanted to go to, that is, last element of the dir path.
And you were, ipso facto, in that dir. If that was the only one by that name, good. When not, and if that wasn't the intended dir, you typed the same command again and you were in a second dir of that name. If this was the intended dir, good. And so on.
It simply maintained a data base with the whole tree, and updated it when invoked from a newly created dir o by means of an option, NCD/R.
In the even before M$-DOS days there was Unix (of which the Linux system is a Unix flavor and Unix had its X-Window System since 1984 and with colors since 1985).