Shell Scripting Coding Style

Joel Roth edited this page Apr 30, 2017 · 5 revisions
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It's important to note that not all scripts follow these guidelines, because of historical baggage (some of the scripts are older than GoboLinux itself). Patches to correct the non-conformities are welcome.

Indentation and block organization

Three spaces for indentation. Avoid joining "do" and "then" in the same line with ";", instead put it on a line by itself, aligned with "for", "while" or "if".

Prefer using "if" rather than idioms like " && { }", but apply your common sense.

Consider the return value of functions and make sure they are non-zero only on failure (be explicit if needed) so that set -e etc. can be used. (The default is the result of the last command. This can be especially bad if the previous suggestion is violated: "${verbose} && echo ..." will return a fail if verbose is false.

Be generous in you use of quotes whenever referring or defining variables, and the "${x}" syntax when merging variables inside strings.

Bear in mind that esac is ridiculous.

When doing weird stuff such as functional-like programming with eval, hide it in a pretty function to pretend it is a bit more readable. Eventually I might make a Functional module. By now, Map() is defined in the Array module.

It's hard to believe, but the only shell module containing GoboLinux-specific stuff is the one aptly called GoboLinux. Keep that in mind when submitting functions for inclusion in one of the modules.


The idea in the naming convention is to orthogonally describe scope and purpose of each name. We define "local scope" as names that are specific to a given script, and "library scope" as names defined in Scripts modules such as GoboPath, ScriptFunctions or one of the imported function modules.

These are the guidelines:

  • Function names have underscores between words
Example: local_function, Library_Function
  • Variable names do not, they're just connected
Example: localvariable, LibraryVariable
  • Library names (for functions and variables) have capital letters
Example: Library_Function, LibraryVariable
  • Local names (for functions and variables) are in all-lowercase
Example: local_function, localvariable
  • All-uppercase variables are reserved for standard Unix usage
  • Configuration variables used in .conf files start with the script name in lowercase, resulting in a case style similar to that used in Java variables
Example: compileRecipeDirs, editKeymapLayout