Shell scripting in mac os

Batch files in Windows, while useful, are a cheap imitation of shell scripts. Shell scripts allow us to program commands in chains and have the system execute them as a scripted event, just like batch files. They also allow for far more useful functions, such as command substitution. You can automate backups and each copied file can have the current date appended to the end of its name.

You get to program with commands you already know, while learning staples of most major programming languages.

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Need to do something repetitive and tedious? Script it!

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Need a shortcut for a really convoluted command? Want to build a really easy to use command-line interface for something? In addition, so long as all of the commands that are referenced exist, scripts can work on multiple platforms with little to no tweaking required.


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This can prevent some nasty mistakes. As such, read through scripts you download and be careful with data you have, just in case things go wrong.

Step-by-step

At their core, scripts are just plain text files. You can use any text editor to write them: Just be sure to save it as plain text, not as rich text, or a Word document. Scripts are executed like programs, and in order for this to happen they need to have the proper permissions. You can make scripts executable by running the following command on it:. This will allow anyone to run that particular script. If you want to restrict its use to just your user, you can use this instead:.

In order to run this script, you would have to cd into the proper directory and then run the script like this:. In many modern distros, this folder no longer is created by default, but you can create it. This is usually where executable files are stored that belong to your user and not to other users. Before you name a script, though, you should the following command to check if you have a program installed that uses that name:.

This is because it conflicts with the test command, which does nothing without arguments. As I mentioned before, every script file is essentially plain text.

The Beginner’s Guide to Shell Scripting: The Basics

Because of this, there are a few guidelines you need to know. When a shell parses through a text file, the most direct way to identify the file as a script is by making your first line:. If you use another shell, substitute its path here.


  • Short answer?
  • How to make a simple bash script (Mac).
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  • Comment lines start with hashes , but adding the bang! Every new line should be considered a new command, or a component of a larger system. If your text editor is doing that, you should turn off text-wrapping to be on the safe side. If you start a line with a , the line is ignored. This turns it into a comment line, where you can remind yourself of what the output of the previous command was, or what the next command will do.

    Again, turn off text wrapping, or break you comment into multiple lines that all begin with a hash. Using lots of comments is a good practice to keep, as it lets you and other people tweak your scripts more easily.

    Shell Scripting Primer

    This is mainly because when you nest — put commands inside other commands — parentheses work better. Open up that file in your text editor of choice. I'm looking for a way to create a universal script file with these commands. I want to be able to run the file on a Mac just by double-clicking on it or dragging the file over the Terminal icon.

    I have never done anything like this before. Is there any way to create such a script? Please advise. Add your commands, one per line. For example, you could do: This will give the terminal permission to run the file.

    Mac OS X For Unix Geeks, 4th Edition by Brian Jepson, Rich Rosen, Ernest E. Rothman

    You can also see here on Stack Overflow for a bit more information. Now, this all depends on the they types of command and whether or not they require user intervention. Those are just to examples. Keep in mind that any output generated, will get sent to the console screen. You can name the file diagnostics.

    By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy , and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. How to create a universal script file for a Mac, based on several Terminal commands Ask Question. These commands require the user's password to be entered. Do you mean to ask that you want to run a script without having the user enter their password?

    Allan I want to run one file instead of multiple commands.

    15 Bash For Loop Examples for Linux / Unix / OS X Shell Scripting

    Running it without having the user enter their password at least once would be good, but most likely impossible if I'm not mistaken. Short answer A.