ShellHow shell scripting is useful

How shell scripting is useful

What is Shell Scripting?

A shell script is a set of commands in a computer program that is executed by the Unix shell, a command-line interpreter. The steps are frequently described in comments in a shell script. Shell scripts execute a variety of tasks, including program execution, file manipulation, and text output. A wrapper is a type of shell script that establishes the program environment, executes the program, and so on.

Types Of Shell Scripting

So.NoShell TypeDescription
1Bash aka Bourne Again ShellThis is the most common shell available on all Linux and Debian-based systems. It is open-source and freeware.
2CSH or C ShellThis Shell scripting program uses the C programming’s shell syntax and its almost similar to C.
3KSH or Korn ShellKorn is a Unix-based Shell scripting program, initially based on the Bash Shell Scripting. This shell is quite advanced and it’s a high-level programming language.
4TCSHThere is no specific full form of TCSH. It is as it is. TCSH is an advanced version of the Berkeley Unix C shell. It again supports C style syntax

Benefits of Shell Script

Shell scripts don’t have to be boring:

Most shell scripts are uninteresting. They don’t show anything, nor have any coloring. What .shame… Lynis uses a color scheme,
has an upgrade check, intercepts interruption (e.g. CTRL-C) and shows alerts if it was not dismissed properly last time. There is
so much possible!


Why recurring the same statements in your shell scripts every time? Develop an effective set of functions and consist of that in your existing and new shell scripts. Don’t use “echo” while you also can call your own function Display.

Always available:

Shell scripting can constantly be used, on each program you encounter. It makes your life simpler by automating repetitive steps. Just insert your preferred commands in a file, make it executable and run it happily. Simple to learn, and, well also quick to master.


With a shell script, the possibility of creating things really unreadable is much lower. Sure you can use unique features of the shell, which others don’t comprehend.

Shell scripting is powerful

It is convenient, no compilation required and helps almost every single UNIX-based system there is. Merge it with the commonly accessible tools like awk, grep and sed and you have a great basis.

What is Bash Scripting?

Bash (AKA Bourne Again Shell) is a type of interpreter that processes shell commands. A shell interpreter takes commands in plain text format and calls Operating System services to do something. For example, ls command lists the files and folders in a directory.
A shell scripting is writing a program for the shell to execute and a shell script is a file or program that the shell will execute.

Bash (bash) is one of many available (yet the most commonly used) Unix shells. and is a replacement/improvement of the original Bourne shell (sh). Shell scripting is scripting in any shell, whereas Bash scripting is scripting specifically for Bash. In practice, however, “shell script” and “bash script” are often used interchangeably, unless the shell in question is not Bash.

Basic Linux Commands

Commands Description
pwdGet the full path of the current working directory.
cdNavigate to the last directory you were working in.
cd ~or just cd Navigate to the current user’s home directory.
cd ..Go to the parent directory of the current directory
s -lList the files and directories in the current directory in long (table) format (It is recommended to use -l with ls for better readability).
ls -ld dir-nameList information about the directory dir-name instead of its contents.
ls -aList all the files including the hidden ones (File names starting with a . are hidden files in Linux).
ls -F appends a symbol at the end of a file name to indicate its type (* means executable, / means directory, @ means symbolic link, = means socket, | means named pipe, > means door)
ls -ltList the files sorted by last modified time with most recently modified files showing at the top (remember -l option provides the long format which has better readability)
ls -lhList File Sizes in Human Readable Format
ls -lRShows all subdirectories recursively.
treeWill generate a tree representation of the file system starting from the current directory.
cp -p source destinationWill copy the file from source to destination. -p stands for preservation. It preserves the original attributes of the file while copying like file owner, timestamp, group, permissions etc.
cp -R source_directory destination_directory –Will copy source directory to specified destination recursively.
mv file1 file2 In Linux, there is no rename command as such. Hence mv
moves/renames the file1 to file2
rm -i filenameAsks you before every file removal for confirmation. IF YOU ARE A NEW USER TO LINUX COMMAND LINE, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS USE rm -i. You can specify multiple files.
rm -R dir-nameWill remove the directory dir-name recursively.
rm -rf dir-nameWill remove the directory dir recursively, ignoring  non-existent files and will never prompt for anything. BE CAREFUL USING THIS COMMAND! You can specify multiple directorie
rmdir dir-nameWill remove the directory dir-name, if it’s empty. This command can only remove empty directories.
mkdir dir-nameCreate a directory dir-name.
mkdir -p dir-name/dir-nameCreate a directory hierarchy. Create parent directories as needed, if they don’t exist. You can specify multiple directories.
touch filenameCreate a file filename, if it doesn’t exist, otherwise change the timestamp of the file to current time

chmod filename – Change the file permissions. Specifications = u user, g group, o other, + add permission, – remove, r read, w write,x execute.

chmod -R dir-name – Change the permissions of a directory recursively. To change the permission of a directory and everything within that directory, use this command.

chmod go=+r myfile – Add read permission for the owner and the group.

chmod a +rwx myfile – Allow all users to read, write or execute myfile.

chmod go -r myfile – Remove read permission from the group and others.

chown owner1 filename – Change ownership of a file to user owner1.

chgrp grp_owner filename – Change the primary group ownership of file filename to group grp_owner.

chgrp -R grp_owner dir-name – Change the primary group ownership of directory dir-name to group grp_owner recursively. To change the group ownership of a directory and everything within that directory, use this command.

In more simple way:
0 = 0 = nothing
1 = 1 = execute
2=2= write
3 = 2 + 1 = w+x
4 = 4 = read
5 = 4+1 = r+x
6 = 4 + 2 = r+w
7 = 4 + 2 + 1 = r+w+x

Basic Bash Scripting


echo $NAME
echo "$NAME"
echo "${NAME}!"

String quotes

echo "Hi $NAME" #=> Hi John
echo 'Hi $NAME' #=> Hi $NAME

Shell execution

echo "I'm in $(pwd)"
echo "I'm in `pwd`"

Conditional execution

git commit && git push
git commit || echo


get_name() {
 echo "John"
echo "You are $(get_name)"


if [[ -z "$string" ]];
 echo "String is
elif [[ -n "$string"
]]; then
 echo "String is not

Brace expansion

echo {A,B}.js
{A,B} - Same as A B
{A,B}.js -Same as A.js B.js
{1..5}-Same as 1 2 3 4 5

Strict mode

set -euo pipefail

Parameter expansions


echo ${name}
echo ${name/J/j}
#=> "john" (substitution)
echo ${name:0:2}
#=> "Jo" (slicing)
echo ${name::2}
#=> "Jo" (slicing)
echo ${name::-1}
#=> "Joh" (slicing)
echo ${name:(-1)}
#=> "n" (slicing from right)
echo ${name:(-2):1}
#=> "h" (slicing from right)
echo ${food:-Cake}
#=> $food or "Cake"
echo ${name:0:length} #=> "Jo"


${#FOO} - Length of $FOO
echo ${STR%.cpp} # /path/to/foo
echo ${STR%.cpp}.o # /path/to/foo.o
echo ${STR%/*} # /path/to
echo ${STR##*.} # cpp (extension)
echo ${STR##*/} # foo.cpp (basepath)
echo ${STR#*/} # path/to/foo.cpp
echo ${STR##*/} # foo.cpp
echo ${STR/foo/bar} # /path/to/bar.cpp


${FOO%suffix} - Remove suffix
${FOO#prefix} - Remove prefix
${FOO%%suffix} - Remove long suffix
${FOO##prefix} - Remove long prefix
${FOO/from/to} - Replace first match
${FOO//from/to} - Replace all
${FOO/%from/to} - Replace suffix
${FOO/#from/to} - Replace prefix


${FOO:0:3} - Substring (position, length)
${FOO:(-3):3} - Substring from the right


echo ${STR,}
#=> "hELLO WORLD!" (lowercase 1st
echo ${STR,,}
#=> "hello world!" (all
STR="hello world!"
echo ${STR^}
#=> "Hello world!" (uppercase 1st
echo ${STR^^}
#=> "HELLO WORLD!" (all


Basic for loop

for i in /etc/rc.*; do
 echo $i

C-like for loop

for ((i = 0 ; i < 100 ;i++));
 echo $i


for i in {1..5}; do
 echo "Welcome $i"

Reading lines

cat file.txt | while
read line; do
 echo $line


while true; do


for i in {1..5}; do
 echo "Welcome $i"
With step size
for i in {5..50..5}; do
 echo "Welcome $i"


Defining & Calling functions

myfunc() {
 echo "hello $1"
# Same as above (alternate syntax)
function myfunc() {
 echo "hello $1"
myfunc "John"

Returning values

myfunc() {
 local myresult='some value'
 echo $myresult


$# -> Number of arguments
$* -> All positional arguments (as a
single word)
$@ -> All positional arguments (as
separate strings)
$1 -> First argument
$_ -> Last argument of the previous
Note: $@ and $* must be quoted in
order to perform as described.
Otherwise, they do exactly the same
thing (arguments as separate

Raising Condition based errors

myfunc() {
 return 1
if myfunc; then
 echo "success"
 echo "failure"



[[ -z STRING ]] - Empty string
[[ -n STRING ]] - Not empty string
[[ STRING != STRING ]] - Not Equal
[[ NUM -eq NUM ]] - Equal
[[ NUM -ne NUM ]] - Not equal
[[ NUM -lt NUM ]] - Less than
[[ NUM -le NUM ]] - Less than or equal
[[ NUM -gt NUM ]] - Greater than
[[ NUM -ge NUM ]] - Greater than or equal
[[ STRING =~ STRING ]] - Regexp
(( NUM < NUM )) - Numeric conditions
[[ -o noclobber ]] - If OPTIONNAME is enabled
[[ ! EXPR ]] - Not
[[ X && Y ]] - And
[[ X || Y ]] - Or

File conditions

[[ -e FILE ]] - Exists
[[ -r FILE ]] - Readable
[[ -h FILE ]] - Symlink
[[ -d FILE ]] - Directory
[[ -w FILE ]] - Writable
[[ -s FILE ]] - Size is > 0 bytes
[[ -f FILE ]] - File
[[ -x FILE ]] - Executable
[[ FILE1 -nt FILE2 ]] - 1 is more recent than 2
[[ FILE1 -ot FILE2 ]] - 2 is more recent than 1
[[ FILE1 -ef FILE2 ]] - Same files


# String
if [[ -z "$string" ]]; then
 echo "String is empty"
elif [[ -n "$string" ]]; then
 echo "String is not empty"
 echo "This never happens"
# Combinations
if [[ X && Y ]]; then
# Equal
if [[ "$A" == "$B" ]]
# Regex
if [[ "A" =~ . ]]
if (( $a < $b )); then
 echo "$a is smaller than $b" fi
if [[ -e "file.txt" ]]; then
 echo "file exists" 


Defining arrays

Fruits=('Apple' 'Banana' 'Orange')

Working with arrays

echo ${Fruits[0]} # Element #0
echo ${Fruits[-1]} # Last element
echo ${Fruits[@]} # All elements, space-separated
echo ${#Fruits[@]} # Number of elements
echo ${#Fruits} # String length of the 1st element
echo ${#Fruits[3]} # String length of the Nth element
echo ${Fruits[@]:3:2} # Range (from position 3, length 2)
echo ${!Fruits[@]} # Keys of all elements, space-separated


Fruits=("${Fruits[@]}" "Watermelon") # Push
Fruits+=('Watermelon') # Also Push
Fruits=( ${Fruits[@]/Ap*/} ) # Remove by regex match
unset Fruits[2] # Remove one item
Fruits=("${Fruits[@]}") # Duplicate
Fruits=("${Fruits[@]}" "${Veggies[@]}") # Concatenate
lines=(`cat "logfile"`) # Read from file


for i in "${arrayName[@]}"; do
 echo $i



declare -A sounds
Declares sound as a Dictionary object
(aka associative array).

Working with dictionaries

echo ${sounds[dog]} # Dog's sound
echo ${sounds[@]} # All values
echo ${!sounds[@]} # All keys
echo ${#sounds[@]} # Number of elements
unset sounds[dog] # Delete dog


Iterate over values
for val in "${sounds[@]}"; do
 echo $val
Iterate over keys
for key in "${!sounds[@]}"; do
 echo $key


set -o noclobber # Avoid overlay files (echo "hi" > foo)
set -o errexit # Used to exit upon error, avoiding cascading errors
set -o pipefail # Unveils hidden failures
set -o nounset # Exposes unset variables

Glob options

shopt -s nullglob # Non-matching globs are removed ('*.foo' => '')
shopt -s failglob # Non-matching globs throw errors
shopt -s nocaseglob # Case insensitive globs
shopt -s dotglob # Wildcards match dotfiles ("*.sh" => "")
shopt -s globstar # Allow ** for recursive matches ('lib/**/*.rb' =>
Set GLOBIGNORE as a colon-separated list of patterns to be removed from glob matches


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