Scripting Tutorial for Bash 4.0

Mar 25, 2009

The "Advanced Bash Scripting Guide" version 6 has been reworked to incorporate the new features of Bash 4.0.

The Advanced Bash Scripting Guide written by Mendel Cooper encompasses 361 code examples and would make a 960-page printed book. Cooper describes the guide not only as an "in-depth exploration of the art of shell scripting" but an introduction to general programming concepts such as recursion.

The new version 6.0.05 of the document demonstrates among other things the introduction of associative arrays that Bash 4.0 announced the end of February. As an example of their use Cooper provides a simple address database. He also goes into the expanded syntax for the case construct, enabling parallel processes through the coproc built-in, and use of the mapfile built-in to load an array with contents of a text file.

In an editorial comment at the end of the Bash version 4 chapter, Cooper nevertheless asks the question whether so many new features are really necessary: "Whatever happened to the lean and mean Bash we have come to know and love?" His suggestion for more "essential" features would include for-each loops and multi-dimensional arrays.

The document is included among the Linux Documentation Project Guides as text, HTML, PDF, PS and PDB. The author put it under Open Publication License with some additional conditions.

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