Book Image

Bash Quick Start Guide

By : Tom Ryder
Book Image

Bash Quick Start Guide

By: Tom Ryder

Overview of this book

Bash and shell script programming is central to using Linux, but it has many peculiar properties that are hard to understand and unfamiliar to many programmers, with a lot of misleading and even risky information online. Bash Quick Start Guide tackles these problems head on, and shows you the best practices of shell script programming. This book teaches effective shell script programming with Bash, and is ideal for people who may have used its command line but never really learned it in depth. This book will show you how even simple programming constructs in the shell can speed up and automate any kind of daily command-line work. For people who need to use the command line regularly in their daily work, this book provides practical advice for using the command-line shell beyond merely typing or copy-pasting commands into the shell. Readers will learn techniques suitable for automating processes and controlling processes, on both servers and workstations, whether for single command lines or long and complex scripts. The book even includes information on configuring your own shell environment to suit your workflow, and provides a running start for interpreting Bash scripts written by others.
Table of Contents (10 chapters)

Distinguishing command types

The commands you can use in a Bash script fall into three major categories:

  • Shell builtin commands: Included in Bash itself. These commands don't correspond to executable program files on your system; they are implemented in the bash binary itself. Examples are echo, type, and source.
  • Runtime commands: Defined in the shell at runtime, and written in the Bash language. These can be aliases or functions. They don't have executable program files of their own on disk either, and are defined at runtime during a Bash session, often by reading startup files. Examples vary between systems and users.
  • System commands: Invoke executable program files on your filesystem. These are the only kinds of commands that can also be run outside of Bash. Examples are grep, ping, and rm.

The executable programs called by system commands may be written in any...