shellspec/shellspec

View on GitHub

Showing 115 of 115 total issues

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  if [ ${SHELLSPEC_STDOUT+x} ]; then
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/subjects/stdout.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  if [ ${SHELLSPEC_STATUS+x} ]; then
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/subjects/status.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Quote this to prevent word splitting.
Open

count spec $(specs)
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/check.sh by shellcheck

Quote this to prevent word splitting

Problematic code:

ls -l $(getfilename)

Correct code:

# getfilename outputs 1 file
ls -l "$(getfilename)"

# getfilename outputs multiple files, linefeed separated
getfilename | while IFS='' read -r line
do
  ls -l "$line"
done

Rationale:

When command expansions are unquoted, word splitting and globbing will occur. This often manifests itself by breaking when filenames contain spaces.

Trying to fix it by adding quotes or escapes to the data will not work. Instead, quote the command substitution itself.

If the command substitution outputs multiple pieces of data, use a loop instead.

Exceptions

In rare cases you actually want word splitting, such as in

gcc $(pkg-config --libs openssl) client.c

This is because pkg-config outputs -lssl -lcrypto, which you want to break up by spaces into -lssl and -lcrypto. An alternative is to put the variables to an array and expand it:

args=( $(pkg-config --libs openssl) )
gcc "${args[@]}" client.c

The power of using an array becomes evident when you want to combine, for example, the command result with user-provided arguments:

compile () {
    args=( $(pkg-config --libs openssl) "${@}" )
    gcc "${args[@]}" client.c
}
compile -DDEBUG
+ gcc -lssl -lcrypto -DDEBUG client.c

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Don't use variables in the printf format string. Use printf "..%s.." "$foo".
Open

  printf "${color}##############################\n\033[m"
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/test_in_docker.sh by shellcheck

Don't use variables in the printf format string. Use printf "..%s.." "$foo".

Problematic code:

printf "Hello, $NAME\n"

Correct code:

printf "Hello, %s\n" "$NAME"

Rationale:

printf interprets escape sequences and format specifiers in the format string. If variables are included, any escape sequences or format specifiers in the data will be interpreted too, when you most likely wanted to treat it as data. Example:

coverage='96%'
printf "Unit test coverage: %s\n" "$coverage"
printf "Unit test coverage: $coverage\n"

The first printf writes Unit test coverage: 96%.

The second writes bash: printf: `\': invalid format character

Exceptions

Sometimes you may actually want to interpret data as a format string, like in:

hexToAscii() { printf "\x$1"; }
hexToAscii 21

or when you have a pattern in a variable:

filepattern="file-%d.jpg"
printf -v filename "$filepattern" "$number"

These are valid use cases with no useful rewrites. Please [[ignore]] the warnings with a [[directive]].

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Modification of pre is local (to subshell caused by pipeline).
Open

    tag=${line##*/} && pre=${tag#${tag%%[-+]*}}
Severity: Minor
Found in install.sh by shellcheck

Modification of var is local (to subshell caused by pipeline).

See companion warning [[SC2031]].

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

In POSIX sh, 'type' is undefined.
Open

if type shopt >/dev/null 2>&1; then
Severity: Minor
Found in libexec/shellspec-inspection.sh by shellcheck

In POSIX sh, something is undefined.

You have declared that your script works with /bin/sh, but you are using features that have undefined behavior according to the POSIX specification.

It may currently work for you, but it can or will fail on other OS, the same OS with different configurations, from different contexts (like initramfs/chroot), or in different versions of the same OS, including future updates to your current system.

Either declare that your script requires a specific shell like #!/bin/bash or #!/bin/dash, or rewrite the script in a portable way.

For help with rewrites, the Ubuntu wiki has a list of portability issues that broke people's #!/bin/sh scripts when Ubuntu switched from Bash to Dash. See also Bashism on wooledge's wiki. ShellCheck may not warn about all these issues.

$'c-style-escapes'

bash, ksh:

a=$' \t\n'

POSIX:

a="$(printf '%b_' ' \t\n')"; a="${a%_}" # protect trailing \n

Want some good news? See http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=249#c590.

$"msgid"

Bash:

echo $"foo $(bar) baz"

POSIX:

. gettext.sh # GNU Gettext sh library
# ...
barout=$(bar)
eval_gettext 'foo $barout baz' # See GNU Gettext doc for more info.

Or you can change them to normal double quotes so you go without gettext.

Arithmetic for loops

Bash:

for ((init; test; next)); do foo; done

POSIX:

: $((init))
while [ $((test)) -ne 0 ]; do foo; : $((next)); done

Arithmetic exponentiation

Bash:

printf "%s\n" "$(( 2**63 ))"

POSIX:

The POSIX standard does not allow for exponents. However, you can replicate them completely built-in using a POSIX compatible function. As an example, the pow function from here.

pow () {
    set "$1" "$2" 1
    while [ "$2" -gt 0 ]; do
      set "$1" $(($2-1)) $(($1*$3))
    done
    # %d = signed decimal, %u = unsigned decimal
    # Either should overflow to 0
    printf "%d\n" "$3"
}

To compare:

$ echo "$(( 2**62 ))"
4611686018427387904
$ pow 2 62
4611686018427387904

Alternatively, if you don't mind using an external program, you can use bc. Be aware though: bash and other programs may abide by a certain maximum integer that bc does not (for bash that's: 64-bit signed long int, failing back to 32-bit signed long int).

Example:

# Note the overflow that gives a negative number
$ echo "$(( 2**63 ))"
-9223372036854775808

# No such problem
$ echo 2^63 | bc
9223372036854775808

# 'bc' just keeps on going
$ echo 2^1280 | bc
20815864389328798163850480654728171077230524494533409610638224700807\
21611934672059602447888346464836968484322790856201558276713249664692\
98162798132113546415258482590187784406915463666993231671009459188410\
95379622423387354295096957733925002768876520583464697770622321657076\
83317005651120933244966378183760369413644440628104205339687097746591\
6057756101739472373801429441421111406337458176

standalone ((..))

Bash:

((a=c+d))
((d)) && echo d is true.

POSIX:

: $((a=c+d)) # discard the output of the arith expn with `:` command
[ $((d)) -ne 0 ] && echo d is true. # manually check non-zero => true

select loops

It takes extra care over terminal columns to make select loop look like bash's, which generates a list with multiple items on one line, or like ls.

It is, however, still possible to make a naive translation for select foo in bar baz; do eat; done:

while
  _i=0 _foo= foo=
  for _name in bar baz; do echo "$((_i+=1))) $_name"; done
  printf '$# '; read _foo
do
  case _foo in 1) foo=bar;; 2) foo=baz;; *) continue;; esac
  eat
done

Here-strings

Bash, ksh:

grep aaa <<< "$g"

POSIX:

# not exactly the same -- <<< adds a trailing \n if $g doesn't end with \n
printf '%s' "$g" | grep aaa

echo flags

See https://unix.stackexchange.com/tags/echo/info.

${var/pat/replacement}

Bash:

echo "${TERM/%-256*}"

POSIX:

echo "$TERM" | sed -e 's/-256.*$//g'
# Special case for this since we are matching the end:
echo "${TERM%-256*}"

printf %q

Bash:

printf '%q ' "$@"

POSIX:

# TODO: Interpret it back to printf escapes for hard-to-copy chars like \t?
# See also: http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/libtool.git/tree/gl/build-aux/funclib.sh?id=c60e054#n1029
reuse_quote()(
  for i; do
    __i_quote=$(printf '%s\n' "$i" | sed -e "s/'/'\\\\''/g"; echo x)
    printf "'%s'" "${__i_quote%x}"
  done
)
reuse_quote "$@"

Exception

Depends on what your expected POSIX shell providers would use.

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  eval trans block_example ${1+'"$@"'}
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/libexec/translator.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  if [ ${SHELLSPEC_STDERR+x} ]; then
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/subjects/stderr.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  if [ ${SHELLSPEC_STDOUT+x} ]; then
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/subjects/line.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Useless cat. Consider 'cmd < file | ..' or 'cmd file | ..' instead.
Open

cat spec/demo_spec.sh | highlight sh
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/demo.sh by shellcheck

Useless cat. Consider 'cmd < file | ..' or 'cmd file | ..' instead.

Problematic code:

cat file | tr ' ' _ | nl
cat file | while IFS= read -r i; do echo "${i%?}"; done

Correct code:

< file tr ' ' _ | nl  
while IFS= read -r i; do echo "${i%?}"; done < file

Rationale:

cat is a tool for con"cat"enating files. Reading a single file as input to a program is considered a Useless Use Of Cat (UUOC).

It's more efficient and less roundabout to simply use redirection. This is especially true for programs that can benefit from seekable input, like tail or tar.

Many tools also accept optional filenames, e.g. grep -q foo file instead of cat file | grep -q foo.

Exceptions

Pointing out UUOC is a long standing shell programming tradition, and removing them from a short-lived pipeline in a loop can speed it up by 2x. However, it's not necessarily a good use of time in practice, and rarely affects correctness. [[Ignore]] as you see fit.

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  eval trans mock_end ${1+'"$@"'}
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/libexec/translator.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

In POSIX sh, 'builtin' is undefined.
Open

        builtin echo -n -; builtin echo -n n; return 0
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/general.sh by shellcheck

In POSIX sh, something is undefined.

You have declared that your script works with /bin/sh, but you are using features that have undefined behavior according to the POSIX specification.

It may currently work for you, but it can or will fail on other OS, the same OS with different configurations, from different contexts (like initramfs/chroot), or in different versions of the same OS, including future updates to your current system.

Either declare that your script requires a specific shell like #!/bin/bash or #!/bin/dash, or rewrite the script in a portable way.

For help with rewrites, the Ubuntu wiki has a list of portability issues that broke people's #!/bin/sh scripts when Ubuntu switched from Bash to Dash. See also Bashism on wooledge's wiki. ShellCheck may not warn about all these issues.

$'c-style-escapes'

bash, ksh:

a=$' \t\n'

POSIX:

a="$(printf '%b_' ' \t\n')"; a="${a%_}" # protect trailing \n

Want some good news? See http://austingroupbugs.net/view.php?id=249#c590.

$"msgid"

Bash:

echo $"foo $(bar) baz"

POSIX:

. gettext.sh # GNU Gettext sh library
# ...
barout=$(bar)
eval_gettext 'foo $barout baz' # See GNU Gettext doc for more info.

Or you can change them to normal double quotes so you go without gettext.

Arithmetic for loops

Bash:

for ((init; test; next)); do foo; done

POSIX:

: $((init))
while [ $((test)) -ne 0 ]; do foo; : $((next)); done

Arithmetic exponentiation

Bash:

printf "%s\n" "$(( 2**63 ))"

POSIX:

The POSIX standard does not allow for exponents. However, you can replicate them completely built-in using a POSIX compatible function. As an example, the pow function from here.

pow () {
    set "$1" "$2" 1
    while [ "$2" -gt 0 ]; do
      set "$1" $(($2-1)) $(($1*$3))
    done
    # %d = signed decimal, %u = unsigned decimal
    # Either should overflow to 0
    printf "%d\n" "$3"
}

To compare:

$ echo "$(( 2**62 ))"
4611686018427387904
$ pow 2 62
4611686018427387904

Alternatively, if you don't mind using an external program, you can use bc. Be aware though: bash and other programs may abide by a certain maximum integer that bc does not (for bash that's: 64-bit signed long int, failing back to 32-bit signed long int).

Example:

# Note the overflow that gives a negative number
$ echo "$(( 2**63 ))"
-9223372036854775808

# No such problem
$ echo 2^63 | bc
9223372036854775808

# 'bc' just keeps on going
$ echo 2^1280 | bc
20815864389328798163850480654728171077230524494533409610638224700807\
21611934672059602447888346464836968484322790856201558276713249664692\
98162798132113546415258482590187784406915463666993231671009459188410\
95379622423387354295096957733925002768876520583464697770622321657076\
83317005651120933244966378183760369413644440628104205339687097746591\
6057756101739472373801429441421111406337458176

standalone ((..))

Bash:

((a=c+d))
((d)) && echo d is true.

POSIX:

: $((a=c+d)) # discard the output of the arith expn with `:` command
[ $((d)) -ne 0 ] && echo d is true. # manually check non-zero => true

select loops

It takes extra care over terminal columns to make select loop look like bash's, which generates a list with multiple items on one line, or like ls.

It is, however, still possible to make a naive translation for select foo in bar baz; do eat; done:

while
  _i=0 _foo= foo=
  for _name in bar baz; do echo "$((_i+=1))) $_name"; done
  printf '$# '; read _foo
do
  case _foo in 1) foo=bar;; 2) foo=baz;; *) continue;; esac
  eat
done

Here-strings

Bash, ksh:

grep aaa <<< "$g"

POSIX:

# not exactly the same -- <<< adds a trailing \n if $g doesn't end with \n
printf '%s' "$g" | grep aaa

echo flags

See https://unix.stackexchange.com/tags/echo/info.

${var/pat/replacement}

Bash:

echo "${TERM/%-256*}"

POSIX:

echo "$TERM" | sed -e 's/-256.*$//g'
# Special case for this since we are matching the end:
echo "${TERM%-256*}"

printf %q

Bash:

printf '%q ' "$@"

POSIX:

# TODO: Interpret it back to printf escapes for hard-to-copy chars like \t?
# See also: http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/libtool.git/tree/gl/build-aux/funclib.sh?id=c60e054#n1029
reuse_quote()(
  for i; do
    __i_quote=$(printf '%s\n' "$i" | sed -e "s/'/'\\\\''/g"; echo x)
    printf "'%s'" "${__i_quote%x}"
  done
)
reuse_quote "$@"

Exception

Depends on what your expected POSIX shell providers would use.

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  eval shellspec_join SHELLSPEC_EXPECTATION '" "' The ${1+'"$@"'}
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/dsl.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  if [ ${SHELLSPEC_STDOUT+x} ]; then
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/core/subjects/stdout.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

GP_HOSTNAME appears unused. Verify it or export it.
Open

GP_HOSTNAME=ubuntu
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/demo.sh by shellcheck

foo appears unused. Verify it or export it.

Problematic code:

foo=42
echo "$FOO"

Correct code:

foo=42
echo "$foo"

Rationale:

Variables not used for anything are often associated with bugs, so ShellCheck warns about them.

Also note that something like local let foo=42 does not make a let statement local -- it instead declares an additional local variable named let.

Exceptions

ShellCheck may not always realize that the variable is in use (especially with indirection), and may not realize you don't care (with throwaway variables or unimplemented features).

For throwaway variables, consider using _ as a dummy:

read _ last _ zip _ _ <<< "$str"
echo "$last, $zip"

or use a directive to disable the warning:

# shellcheck disable=SC2034
read first last email zip lat lng <<< "$str"
echo "$last, $zip"

For indirection, there's not much you can do without rewriting to use arrays or similar:

bar=42  # will always appear unused
foo=bar
echo "${!foo}"

This is expected behavior, and not a bug. There is no good way to statically analyze indirection in shell scripts, just like static C analyzers have a hard time preventing segfaults.

As always, there are ways to [[ignore]] this and other messages if they frequently get in your way.

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Useless cat. Consider 'cmd < file | ..' or 'cmd file | ..' instead.
Open

cat report/results_junit.xml | highlight xml
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/demo.sh by shellcheck

Useless cat. Consider 'cmd < file | ..' or 'cmd file | ..' instead.

Problematic code:

cat file | tr ' ' _ | nl
cat file | while IFS= read -r i; do echo "${i%?}"; done

Correct code:

< file tr ' ' _ | nl  
while IFS= read -r i; do echo "${i%?}"; done < file

Rationale:

cat is a tool for con"cat"enating files. Reading a single file as input to a program is considered a Useless Use Of Cat (UUOC).

It's more efficient and less roundabout to simply use redirection. This is especially true for programs that can benefit from seekable input, like tail or tar.

Many tools also accept optional filenames, e.g. grep -q foo file instead of cat file | grep -q foo.

Exceptions

Pointing out UUOC is a long standing shell programming tradition, and removing them from a short-lived pipeline in a loop can speed it up by 2x. However, it's not necessarily a good use of time in practice, and rarely affects correctness. [[Ignore]] as you see fit.

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Use 'cd ... || exit' or 'cd ... || return' in case cd fails.
Open

cd profile
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/demo.sh by shellcheck

Use cd ... || exit in case cd fails.

Problematic code:

cd generated_files
rm -r *.c

func(){
  cd foo
  do_something
}

Correct code:

cd generated_files || exit
rm -r *.c

# For functions, you may want to use return:
func(){
  cd foo || return
  do_something
}

Rationale:

cd can fail for a variety of reasons: misspelled paths, missing directories, missing permissions, broken symlinks and more.

If/when it does, the script will keep going and do all its operations in the wrong directory. This can be messy, especially if the operations involve creating or deleting a lot of files.

To avoid this, make sure you handle the cases when cd fails. Ways to do this include

  • cd foo || exit as suggested to just abort immediately
  • if cd foo; then echo "Ok"; else echo "Fail"; fi for custom handling
  • <(cd foo && cmd) as an alternative to <(cd foo || exit; cmd) in <(..), $(..) or ( )

Exceptions:

ShellCheck does not give this warning when cd is on the left of a || or &&, or the condition of a if, while or until loop. Having a set -e command anywhere in the script will disable this message, even though it won't necessarily prevent the issue.

If you are accounting for cd failures in a way shellcheck doesn't realize, you can disable this message with a [[directive]].

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  done 2>/dev/null; cd -L "$2" && OLDPWD=$3 && [ ${5+x} ] && printf '%s\n' "$5"
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/all.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Quote this to prevent word splitting.
Open

count sample $(samples)
Severity: Minor
Found in contrib/check.sh by shellcheck

Quote this to prevent word splitting

Problematic code:

ls -l $(getfilename)

Correct code:

# getfilename outputs 1 file
ls -l "$(getfilename)"

# getfilename outputs multiple files, linefeed separated
getfilename | while IFS='' read -r line
do
  ls -l "$line"
done

Rationale:

When command expansions are unquoted, word splitting and globbing will occur. This often manifests itself by breaking when filenames contain spaces.

Trying to fix it by adding quotes or escapes to the data will not work. Instead, quote the command substitution itself.

If the command substitution outputs multiple pieces of data, use a loop instead.

Exceptions

In rare cases you actually want word splitting, such as in

gcc $(pkg-config --libs openssl) client.c

This is because pkg-config outputs -lssl -lcrypto, which you want to break up by spaces into -lssl and -lcrypto. An alternative is to put the variables to an array and expand it:

args=( $(pkg-config --libs openssl) )
gcc "${args[@]}" client.c

The power of using an array becomes evident when you want to combine, for example, the command result with user-provided arguments:

compile () {
    args=( $(pkg-config --libs openssl) "${@}" )
    gcc "${args[@]}" client.c
}
compile -DDEBUG
+ gcc -lssl -lcrypto -DDEBUG client.c

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.
Open

  eval trans block_example_group ${1+'"$@"'}
Severity: Minor
Found in lib/libexec/translator.sh by shellcheck

Double quote to prevent globbing and word splitting.

Problematic code:

echo $1
for i in $*; do :; done # this done and the next one also applies to expanding arrays.
for i in $@; do :; done

Correct code:

echo "$1"
for i in "$@"; do :; done # or, 'for i; do'

Rationale

The first code looks like "print the first argument". It's actually "Split the first argument by IFS (spaces, tabs and line feeds). Expand each of them as if it was a glob. Join all the resulting strings and filenames with spaces. Print the result."

The second one looks like "iterate through all arguments". It's actually "join all the arguments by the first character of IFS (space), split them by IFS and expand each of them as globs, and iterate on the resulting list". The third one skips the joining part.

Quoting variables prevents word splitting and glob expansion, and prevents the script from breaking when input contains spaces, line feeds, glob characters and such.

Strictly speaking, only expansions themselves need to be quoted, but for stylistic reasons, entire arguments with multiple variable and literal parts are often quoted as one:

$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file        # Unquoted (bad)
"$HOME"/"$dir"/dist/bin/"$file"  # Minimal quoting (good)
"$HOME/$dir/dist/bin/$file"      # Canonical quoting (good)

When quoting composite arguments, make sure to exclude globs and brace expansions, which lose their special meaning in double quotes: "$HOME/$dir/src/*.c" will not expand, but "$HOME/$dir/src"/*.c will.

Note that $( ) starts a new context, and variables in it have to be quoted independently:

echo "This $variable is quoted $(but this $variable is not)"
echo "This $variable is quoted $(and now this "$variable" is too)"

Exceptions

Sometimes you want to split on spaces, like when building a command line:

options="-j 5 -B"
make $options file

Just quoting this doesn't work. Instead, you should have used an array (bash, ksh, zsh):

options=(-j 5 -B) # ksh: set -A options -- -j 5 -B
make "${options[@]}" file

or a function (POSIX):

make_with_flags() { make -j 5 -B "$@"; }
make_with_flags file

To split on spaces but not perform glob expansion, Posix has a set -f to disable globbing. You can disable word splitting by setting IFS=''.

Similarly, you might want an optional argument:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="-x"
bash $debug script

Quoting this doesn't work, since in the default case, "$debug" would expand to one empty argument while $debug would expand into zero arguments. In this case, you can use an array with zero or one elements as outlined above, or you can use an unquoted expansion with an alternate value:

debug=""
[[ $1 == "--trace-commands" ]] && debug="yes"
bash ${debug:+"-x"} script

This is better than an unquoted value because the alternative value can be properly quoted, e.g. wget ${output:+ -o "$output"}.


As always, this warning can be [[ignore]]d on a case-by-case basis.

this is especially relevant when BASH many not be available for the array work around. For example, use in eval or in command options where script has total control of the variables...

FLAGS="-av -e 'ssh -x' --delete --delete-excluded"
...
# shellcheck disable=SC2086
eval rsync $FLAGS ~/dir remote_host:dir

Notice

Original content from the ShellCheck https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck/wiki.

Severity
Category
Status
Source
Language