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What Is Bash and How It Can Save Your Time

Have you heard about bash (Unix shell)? but not sure what does bash actually do? Let’s see how it can save your time.. a lot.

Think of bash as a little program or function(s), to do whatever tasks you normally do in your terminal/command line faster, just by calling the function’s name. As always, don’t repeat yourself. You have to write your code and call it later by the name of the function/variable.

How to open/create a bash file?

If you are on windows, check Chris Hoffman’s post in how to run bash shell on windows. For mac’s user open your .bash_profile with whatever text editor you love. If you don’t have one, just create a new file:

Basic bash example

If you find yourself write a repetitive command, for example, a laravel user will type “php artisan serve” to run a server, we can make an alias for this, by write

alias pas='php artisan serve'

Next time you need a server, just type “pas” and it has the same effect as you type “php artisan serve”. Alias is a very handful way to create a simple static task. Just type

alias WHATYOUWANTTOWRITE = 'The actual command'

Try to write any alias for yourself. Normally, you have to close your terminal first for the changes to take an effect.

Dynamic value in bash function

You can also add a function with dynamic value, for example i want to add a timer to shutdown my mac

function sd(){ sudo shutdown -h +$1 }

sd is the name of the command i will run later, “$1” is the dynamic part. So.. typing “sd 60” will shutdown my mac in an hour(60 minutes).

Other example in mac if you want to search something in google, you can write a function

function google() {
    str="$*"
    open -a "Google Chrome" "http://www.google.com/search?q=$str";
}

Everytime you want to search via terminal, just type google search something and hit enter. Explanation: “$*” is our way to get all words user type in (get all the parameters), we pass it to “str” variable so we can use it later.

That’s it!

For more formal description and history of bash, wikipedia will explain it for you.


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