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I published the reference doc Simple Word Evaluation in Unix Shell last year, describing an important improvement in Oil.
It also needs a short, friendly explanation, and this comment by Hacker News
nas prompted me write
The fact that you have to use quoting nearly everywhere is a design flaw in the Bourne shell. Some shells, like Plan 9's rc, for example, don't expand after variable [substitution]. They have an operator to call if you want to explicitly force expansion. That's so much cleaner and less error prone.
Oil is Bourne compatible, but has a mode to opt you into the better behavior. Here's an example, starting with 2 string variables:
osh$ empty='' osh$ x='name with spaces.mp3'
This behavior matches Bourne shell:
$ argv $empty $x ['name', 'with', 'spaces.mp3'] # omit empty and split $ argv "$empty" "$x" ['', 'name with spaces.mp3'] # unchanged due to quotes
But you can opt into better behavior (also available with
$ shopt --set oil:basic
Which lets you omit the quotes:
$ argv $empty $x ['', 'name with spaces.mp3'] # no splitting or omission
If you want splitting, splice the result of the
split() function into the
command, with the
$ argv $empty @split(x) ['', 'name', 'with', 'spaces.mp3']
If you want to omit empty strings, use the
maybe() function, which returns a
0 or 1 length array:
$ argv @maybe(empty) $x ['name with spaces.mp3']
Again, this is called Simple Word Evaluation, and it's exactly what the comment asked for. Let me know if you have questions!
Also, see other posts tagged #real-problems for Oil's solutions to problems that come up in practice.