Bash programming - Introduction

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How to start programming in Bash, without prior programming experience? And making sure it will be fun?


  • Shebang, script files, make files executable, terminal screen, editor (I use Sublime Text)
  • Display Hello, world!
  • Variables (scalars): Assigning & displaying
  • Commenting (#) and documenting in a structured way
  • Receiving user input & processing it - E.g.: Ask the user for his/her name and displaying something like Hello, <name>!
  • Comparisons, e.g., check for empty imput and take appropriate actions
  • Flow control: Loops. E.g.: Display the numbers from 1 to 100 on the screen; With a step function; Backwards
  • Pipelining. E.g. ls > tmp.txt
  • Grep; Pipelining
  • Passing arguments to scripts
  • Functions
  • Evaluating commands

Personal basic

Stuff that is relevant in an early stage for me personally right now (2023.01), but may not be relevant for others:

  • ln: To make shortcuts on the Desktop to whatever I often use
  • Man pages. E.g., man ln
  • Arrays & associative arrays: I use these a lot in translating webshops
  • WP-CLI

Explore further yourself

Things I get energy from

I love the power of automating stuff, and doing things in a breeze that for non-technical people would be a hell of a job. E.g.:

  • WordPress: Update all prices with one small script
  • Remove whitespace around pictures with just one command
  • Using mmv to update lots of file names at once.

Why I like this? Somewhere in 2022, I did a personality test focused on primary motives and one of my main motives was confirmed to be individualism (as if I didn't know that already): I very much want to be authentic and independent, and automating is a great tool for this. Additionally, it's a selling point and even a production factor: Thanks to a growing library of functions, I can do more and more tasks under conditions (time, price) that non-programmers cannot compete with.

Some other technologies that fit this pattern - I'm not familiar with all of these:

  • Pipelining: Using the output of one command as the input for another command
  • Regular expressions: Advanced pattern matching - Can be very powerful in all kind of situations
  • APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
  • Webservices. Example: Using Translate shell for translating stuff
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence).