Writing robust script
We should use the following options in our bash script for better quality:
set -eux set -o pipefail
Meaning of these option:
- -e: Exit immediately if a command fails.
- -u: If a variable is not set, this is considered an error1.
- -x: Expand variables in a command and print it before executing the command (better for debugging if command fails).
- -o pipefail: If any command in a pipe fails, this pipe will fail.
For more options, see bash set command doc.
common check conditions for files
Some commonly used options for checking file conditions: option meaning [ -d FILE ] True if FILE exists and is a directory [ -f FILE ] True if FILE exists and is a regular file [ -r FILE ] True if FILE exists and is readable [ -w FILE ] True if FILE exists and is writable [ -x FILE ] True if FILE exists and is executable [ -z STRING ] True if length of STRING is zero [ -n STRING ] True if length of STRING is not zero
Note that to check if the opposite is true, use [ ! condition ].
Use [ ] or [[ ]] for condition check?
Both [ ] and [[ ]] can be used to check some conditions, but [ ] is POSIX compatible, and [[ ]] is not. Both bash, zsh support [[ ]].
[[ ]] is also more versatile and powerful than [ ]. For example, it supports &&, || and grouping command using () etc.
Compare string equality
We can use = and != to compare the equality of strings. Use of == is non-standard (see here).
How to set boolean variable?
In bash, there is not really a boolean type. We can just use literal string true to set a bool variable and check if variable is equal to string true. For example:
use_python=true if [[ $use_python = true ]]; then # do something else: # do another thing fi
How to check if a command exists?
We can use command -v YOUCOMMAND to check if YOURCOMMAND exists. For example:
if [[ ! “$(command -v rg)” ]]; then # install ripgrep else echo “ripgrep already exists. No action needed.” fi
According to here, which command is not a reliable way to check if a command exists since it may return an exit code of 0 even if no command is found.
Bash Script Note 1