Short BASH Snippets

I use a snippet similar to this when I want to open a browser after I run a blocking command (usually starting a server). I use this particular example to learn Elm. I have something similar to run Jekyll for my blog.

learn_elm() {
    cd ~/Code/Elm || echo "Non-existant dir"
    code .
    if [[ "$(uname)" == "Darwin" ]]; then
    elif [[ "$(uname)" == "Linux" ]]; then
    # Open a subshell in a fork
    (sleep 2 && "${open_command}" "") &
    # Run the blocking command
    elm reactor

Simple but effective backup command.

bak() {
    date_string="$(date +'%Y-%m-%d.%H.%M.%S')"
    if [[ -d "$1" ]]; then
        local -r no_slash="${1%/}"
        cp -r "${no_slash}" "${no_slash}.${date_string}.bak"
    elif [[ -f "$1" ]]; then
        cp "$1" "${1}.${date_string}.bak"
        echo "Only files and directories supported"

BASH script starter


# exit the script on command errors or unset variables
set -euo pipefail

# readonly script_dir="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd )"
# cd "${script_dir}"

Expand a BASH command

Stolen from StackOverflow

set -x
{ set +x; } 2>/dev/null

Run a shell command on file change

I like to use entr for this. Generate some filenames and pipe them to entr. The -c option clears the screen and the -s option means use the shell.

ls log.txt | entr -c -s 'date && tail log.txt'

Get the full path to a file

This is perl wrapped in Bash, but it’s cross-platform and works on Mac and Linux. The alternative, readlink -f doesn’t work on Mac.

fullpath() {
    local -r full=$(perl -e 'use Cwd "abs_path";print abs_path(shift)' "$1")
    echo "$full"

Generate and use colored print commands

Consider taking out the newlines if you want nested color prints. I almost never do, so I’m leaving them in…

Define the function factory

make_print_color() {
    color_reset="$(tput sgr0)"
    if [ -t 1 ] ; then
        eval "print_${color_name}() { printf \"${color_code}%s${color_reset}\\n\" \"\$1\"; }"
    else  # Don't print colors on pipes
        eval "print_${color_name}() { printf \"%s\\n\" \"\$1\"; }"

Generate pretty print functions and use them

make_print_color "red" "$(tput setaf 1)"
make_print_color "green" "$(tput setaf 2)"
make_print_color "yellow" "$(tput setaf 3)"

print_red "Always"
print_green "Seeing"
print_yellow "in Color!"

# print to stderr:
print_red "Error!" >&2