Check existence of input argument in a Bash shell script – Dev

The best answers to the question “Check existence of input argument in a Bash shell script” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

I need to check the existence of an input argument. I have the following script

if [ "$1" -gt "-1" ]
  then echo hi
fi

I get

[: : integer expression expected

How do I check the input argument1 first to see if it exists?

ANSWER:

It is better to demonstrate this way

if [[ $# -eq 0 ]] ; then
    echo 'some message'
    exit 1
fi

You normally need to exit if you have too few arguments.

ANSWER:

It is:

if [ $# -eq 0 ]
  then
    echo "No arguments supplied"
fi

The $# variable will tell you the number of input arguments the script was passed.

Or you can check if an argument is an empty string or not like:

if [ -z "$1" ]
  then
    echo "No argument supplied"
fi

The -z switch will test if the expansion of "$1" is a null string or not. If it is a null string then the body is executed.

ANSWER:

Try:

 #!/bin/bash
 if [ "$#" -eq  "0" ]
   then
     echo "No arguments supplied"
 else
     echo "Hello world"
 fi

ANSWER:

In some cases you need to check whether the user passed an argument to the script and if not, fall back to a default value. Like in the script below:

scale=${2:-1}
emulator @$1 -scale $scale

Here if the user hasn’t passed scale as a 2nd parameter, I launch Android emulator with -scale 1 by default. ${varname:-word} is an expansion operator. There are other expansion operators as well:

  • ${varname:=word} which sets the undefined varname instead of returning the word value;
  • ${varname:?message} which either returns varname if it’s defined and is not null or prints the message and aborts the script (like the first example);
  • ${varname:+word} which returns word only if varname is defined and is not null; returns null otherwise.