How do you call a function defined in .bashrc from the shell?


Question

In my .bashrc, I have a function called hello:

function hello() {
   echo "Hello, $1!"
}

I want to be able to invoke hello() from the shell as follows:

$ hello Lloyd

And get the output:

> Hello, Lloyd!

What's the trick?

(The real function I have in mind is more complicated, of course.)

EDIT: This is REALLY caused by a syntax error in the function, I think! :(

function coolness() {

    if[ [-z "$1"] -o [-z "$2"] ]; then
        echo "Usage: $0 [sub_package] [endpoint]";
        exit 1;
    fi
        echo "Hi!"
}
1
52
9/30/2009 8:50:39 PM

Accepted Answer

The test in your function won't work - you should not have brackets around the -z clauses, and there should be a space between if and the open bracket. It should read:

function coolness() {

    if [ -z "$1" -o -z "$2" ]; then
        echo "Usage: $0 [sub_package] [endpoint]";
        exit 1;
    fi
    echo "Hi!"
}
27
9/30/2009 8:54:02 PM

You can export functions. In your ~/.bashrc file after you define the function, add export -f functionname.

function hello() {
   echo "Hello, $1!"
}

export -f hello

Then the function will be available at the shell prompt and also in other scripts that you call from there.

Note that it's not necessary to export functions unless they are going to be used in child processes (the "also" in the previous sentence). Usually, even then, it's better to source the function into the file in which it will be used.

Edit:

Brackets in Bash conditional statements are not brackets, they're commands. They have to have spaces around them. If you want to group conditions, use parentheses. Here's your function:

function coolness() {

    if [ -z "$1" -o -z "$2" ]; then
        echo "Usage: $0 [sub_package] [endpoint]";
        exit 1;
    fi
        echo "Hi!"
}

A better way to write that conditional is:

    if [[ -z "$1" || -z "$2" ]]; then

because the double brackets provide more capability than the single ones.


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