Mark Pearl


Executing a Script

Making it Executable

To make a script file executable run the following command:

chmod u+x   # makes it executable just for you
chmod a+x   # makes it executable for everyone  

comod a-x   # remove permission to execut

Calling a script

If a script is in your path variable, you can just call it like a regular command. If a script is NOT in your path variable, you need to include the location when calling it.


# or


Have a bin folder for your scripts

Make a bin folder where you keep all your scripts. This way you can have it in version control and it is easy to know where all your scripts are located. It also makes it easier to centrally locate all your scripts.

To add your bin folder to the path variable you can add the following in your .bash_profile file

export PATH=$PATH:/Users/mark.pearl/Source/personal/Settings_Bash/

Assume /Users/mark.pearl/Source/personal/Settings_Bash/ is where you script files are located.

Handling aliases

Another useful technique I have found is to store all your aliases in a script file. In your .bash_profile file you then do the following

source /Users/mark.pearl/Source/personal/Settings_Bash/

Assume /Users/mark.pearl/Source/personal/Settings_Bash/ is where you script file containing your aliases is located.

Script Format

Start with a Shebang

The first line of a script file tells the OS what language the script file is based in. For bash shell scripts we want this to be a shebang (#!) with bash.


Other OS like windows might have a different location for bash. Below is the most compatible shebang to use.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

Passing parameters to a script

Get positional parameters

$1, $2, $3 hold positional parameters

Use curly braces for double digits or more…

${10}, ${11}, …

Get name of script - $0

$0 holds the name of the script as it was called.

If you use symbolic links etc, it would have the original name that triggered the script.

Get all parameters passed in - $@

$@ is equivalent to $1, $2, $3, …, $n

Using double quotes around $@ keeps parameters with multiple words in them intact i.e. “$@”

Getting count of arguments - $

$# holds the count of the arguments passed to the script

Shifting Positonal Parameters

Shift method shifts the positional parameters by one value.

$2 -> $1
$3 -> $2 $# lowered by 1 etc.


Utility to help parse argument lists

  • Expects options to start with a dash (-a)
  • Allows options that take an argument (-f fileName)
while getopts "b:s:r" opt; do
  case $opt in 
    r) variable1="r set"
    b) variable1="b is now set"  
    s) variable1="s is now set instead"
       exit 1 #exit with error 1

Small tutorial on GetOpts

Variables in Scripts

Looping variables

for a in $@; do  
  echo $a;

String Manipulation

foo="foo bar qux"
bar=${foo/ /.}      # sets one ' ' to . i.e. qux
bar=${foo// /.}     # sets all ' ' to . i.e.



Get year-month-day from day

formattedDate=`date +%Y-%m-%d`  # returns in format 2016-09-21

To see different formats go to the man page for date

Conditional branching

Basic if statement

if [ -e 'hasAValue' ]; then
  echo "inside the then if"
  echo "inside the else block"

if [ "$variable" = "1" ]; then 
    echo "variable contains value 1"
    if [ "$variable" = "2" ]; then
        echo "variable contains value 2"
        echo "variable contains some other value"

variable contains some other value

Base cas statement

case $variable in 
    1 ) echo "variable contains value 1"

    2 ) echo "variable contains value 2"

    * ) echo "variable contains some other value"


Why sh is not running automatically without putting sh in front

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