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Basic sh script syntax

The most basic shell script is a list of commands exactly as could be typed interactively, prefaced by the #! magic header. All the parsing rules, filename wildcards, $PATH searches etc., which were summarized above, apply.
In addition:
# as the first non-whitespace character on a line
flags the line as a comment, and the rest of the line is completely ignored. Use comments liberally in your scripts, as in all other forms of programming.

\ as the last character on a line
causes the following line to be logically joined before interpretation. This allows single very long commands to be entered in the script in a more readable fashion. You can continue the line as many times as needed. More detail

; as a separator between words on a line
is interpreted as a newline. It allows you to put multiple commands on a single line. There are few occasions when you must do this, but often it is used to improve the layout of compound commands.
Example: ex1 display, text

Exit status

Every command (program) has a value or exit status which it returns to the calling program. This is separate from any output generated. The exit status of a shell script can be explicitly set using exit N, or it defaults to the value of the last command run. More detail

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basics.src  last modified Mar 11, 2005 Introduction Table of Contents
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