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(C) Martin Väth <firstname.lastname@example.org> This project is under the BSD license. A POSIX shell function to treat a variable like an array, quoting args. For installation simply copy the content of bin/ somewhere into your path with the executable bit being set. To check from within a POSIX shell script whether Push 2.0 (or newer) is installed, and sourcing it if it is, you can use something like: if SOME_VARIABLE=`push.sh 2>/dev/null` then eval "$SOME_VARIABLE" else echo "push.sh not installed" >&2 fi Alternatively, you can use . push.sh The latter works also with earlier versions of Push, but it has the disadvantage of stopping your script if push.sh is not available. After this you have the shell function Push. Usage: Push [-c] VARIABLE [arguments] The arguments will be appended to VARIABLE in a quoted manner (with quotes rarely used - the exact form depends on the version of push.sh) so that an "eval" $VARIABLE obtains the collected arguments (see examples). With option -c, VARIABLE will be cleared before arguments are appended: The first call for VARIABLE must always be done with -c. The return value is zero if $VARIABLE contains at least one pushed argument. Scripts using Push must not use variables of the form Push*_ (the reason is that POSIX does not provide a local name scope, and so Push uses internally global variables of such a form) Example 1: Push -c foo 'data with special symbols like ()"\' "'another arg'" Push foo further args eval "printf '%s\\n' $foo" # Be aware that not only $foo but the whole command is eval'ed! will output data with special symbols like ()"\ 'another arg' further args Example 2: Remove the last argument from the argument list in a script. Push -c args while [ $# -gt 1 ] do Push args "$1" shift done eval "set -- a $args"; shift # Note: "set -- $args" can break with some shells if args is empty Example 3: Quote a command for "su" correctly. Push -c files "$@" && su -c "cat -- $files" uses "su" to "cat" files passed as arguments with root permissions, even if the arguments contain problematic symbols like spaces, <, or quotes. Example 4: Pretty-print a command without loosing exactness. set -- source~1 'source 2' "source '3'" Push -c v cp -- "$@" \~dest printf '%s\n' "$v" Will output a command which reliably can be pasted by the user into a POSIX shell but which nevertheless is reasonably human-readable. The exact form of output might be subject to change in different versions of Push. Currently the output would look like: cp -- source~1 'source 2' 'source '\'3\' '~dest' It is not recommended to rely on any particular form of the output: Instead, Push itself should be used if information is needed as in the subsequent example. Example 5: Omitting arguments for Push can be useful. Push -c data SomeFunction Push data || echo 'nothing was pushed to $data in SomeFunction' This has the advantage that you need not rely on the implementation details of how Push stores the data in the variable (which may depend on the version of Push).