Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 08-25-2006, 11:09 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2006
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
bash script question


sorry if this is in the wrong place, I was having trouble figuring out where the appropriate forum for this post is.

I am toying around with bash scripts. all I am trying to do at the moment is write a script that sucesfully iterates through every file in a given directory. for now I am just echo-ing the files to the command line. I know there is no need for a bash script to do this, but I am just trying to make sure the loop does what I want it to.

which it doesn't. if the files in the directory have spaces in them, they get output on separate lines. worse yet, if the input directroy has spaces in its path, it tries to find files as if they were separate directories.

for instance:
shakermaker@localhost ~ $ ls test
four.txt one two.txt three.txt
shakermaker@localhost ~ $ scripts/iterate.x test
shakermaker@localhost ~ $ scripts/iterate.x /media/torrents/2\ Many\ DJ\'s/
/media/torrents/2 Many DJ's/
ls: /media/torrents/2: No such file or directory
ls: Many: No such file or directory
ls: DJ's/: No such file or directory
my script is as follows:

#iterates through a directory, printing each file to the console


if [ $# -lt $MIN_ARGS ]
    echo "Usage: `basename $0` path"
    exit $E_OPTERROR


for i in `ls -b $FILEPATH`;
    echo $i 
any help?
Old 08-26-2006, 12:15 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: USA
Distribution: Ubuntu Linux
Posts: 103

Rep: Reputation: 15
It seems that your problem deals with having spaces in filenames.

The solution to this is simply an extra step which I have come to think of and use over the past some years.

Put simply, you could output your statements (literally: echo "echo \"$filename\"" >> temp_file) and have that output to a temporary file. This temporary file should look like:
echo "file1.txt"
echo "file with space.txt"
echo "file3.txt"
Now have this temporary file output and executed by bash:
cat temp_file | bash
This takes care of spaces, by treating each line as an entity rather than each word. This is yet another reason to not have spaces in filenames. I only use the aforementioned technique for my music, which must have spaces.
Old 08-26-2006, 03:59 AM   #3
spirit receiver
Registered: May 2006
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Distribution: SUSE 10.2
Posts: 424

Rep: Reputation: 33
The return value of ls is split at whitespace to form a list of separate values, and the loop will iterate over the values. One solution is to use "ls -1" instead, which will print a single filename on each line, and tell Bash to consider the newline character as the only field sepearator. You can do this by specifying "IFS=$'\n'" before the loop. But note that setting IFS might sometimes have unwanted effects in other situations.
Another option would be to pipe the output of "ls -1" into a loop like
while read; do echo "$REPLY"; done
Furthermore, for a similar reason, you should use
echo "$i"
to print the filenames, as an argument with whitespace will be considered as a list of separate arguments otherwise.
Old 08-26-2006, 02:52 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2006
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
thanks so much! this helps a lot, I used your suggestions to succesfully work around the issues I mentioned earlier.

now I'm having a problem with filenames that have appostrophes in them. ls -b doesn't escape them apparently. how do people generally deal with spaces and special characters in filenames? there must be a common way of working around this, because I would imagine it is a common problem.

I really need to just fix my filenames (curse you windows! teaching such bad habits), but that doesn't solve the problem, it just prevents it from occurring. a good script will deal with any possible file name.
Old 08-26-2006, 03:54 PM   #5
spirit receiver
Registered: May 2006
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Distribution: SUSE 10.2
Posts: 424

Rep: Reputation: 33
I'd suggest not to use the -b switch at all, but to use double quotes around the filename wherever it appears. Then you should be fine.


bash, directory, iterate, script

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
BASH script question drj000 Programming 11 03-07-2005 11:25 PM
Bash script question deiussum Programming 6 08-14-2004 12:43 PM
bash script question xscousr Programming 5 07-03-2003 06:04 PM
Bash script question J_Szucs Linux - General 4 05-29-2003 09:48 AM
A bash script question J_Szucs Programming 2 05-13-2003 03:13 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:17 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration