Shell programming and simple menus - part 2

Unix Insider |  Operating Systems

In last
month's column we started a simple menu system, as useful utility
that illustrated several shell programming concepts. Now let's take
that a step further. In the next example, the menu system is broken
into two parts: the shell script that executes the menu, and a separate
"data" file that contains the menu prompts and commands to be
executed.

Listing 2 looks very similar to the first menu in last month's Listing
1 (see sidebar) except that it is
missing all of the menu prompts and commands to execute! Where are
they?

Listing 3 is an example of a menu file to be processed by
shellmenu. This file contains the missing information. You
have to study both listings to see how these work together. Both
listings include line numbers to simplify the explanations.

If you compare last months Listing 1 to Listing 2 and Listing 3 from
this month, you will see that these two listings are almost identical,
but the prompts and function definitions have been split out of Listing
2 and placed in Listing 3.

The key points to look at in Listing 2 are "TEST THE COMMAND LINE" at
lines 68 through 80, "TEST THE MENU FILE" at lines 81 through 100 and
"READ THE MENU FILE" at lines 132 through 138.

Be sure that shellmenu has been given execute privileges
with the command:

chmod a+x shellmenu

To start this menu using the file named mf.mnu shown in
Listing 3 as the menu, type the shellmenu command followed
by the name of the file to use as the menu.

shellmenu mf.mnu

This causes the value mf.mnu to be assigned to a variable,
$1, inside the shell script. The variables $0, $1, $2, $3 and so on
exist in all shell scripts and contain any values that were listed on
the command line that was used to start the script. $0 contains the
name of the shell script itself, shellmenu. $1 contains
the first word on the command line after shellmenu, in
this case mf.mnu. The $2 variable would contain the next
word or argument on the command line after mf.mnu if there
were any. The shell also creates a variable named $#. This variable
contains the number of arguments that were on the command line after
the command (in this case, shellmenu).

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