Add a new element to an array without specifying the index in Bash


Question

Is there a way to do something like PHPs $array[] = 'foo'; in bash vs doing:

array[0] = 'foo'
array[1] = 'bar'
1
707
6/2/2017 8:08:16 PM

Accepted Answer

Yes there is:

ARRAY=()
ARRAY+=('foo')
ARRAY+=('bar')

Bash Reference Manual:

In the context where an assignment statement is assigning a value to a shell variable or array index (see Arrays), the ‘+=’ operator can be used to append to or add to the variable's previous value.

1377
12/23/2009 9:18:14 AM

As Dumb Guy points out, it's important to note whether the array starts at zero and is sequential. Since you can make assignments to and unset non-contiguous indices ${#array[@]} is not always the next item at the end of the array.

$ array=(a b c d e f g h)
$ array[42]="i"
$ unset array[2]
$ unset array[3]
$ declare -p array     # dump the array so we can see what it contains
declare -a array='([0]="a" [1]="b" [4]="e" [5]="f" [6]="g" [7]="h" [42]="i")'
$ echo ${#array[@]}
7
$ echo ${array[${#array[@]}]}
h

Here's how to get the last index:

$ end=(${!array[@]})   # put all the indices in an array
$ end=${end[@]: -1}    # get the last one
$ echo $end
42

That illustrates how to get the last element of an array. You'll often see this:

$ echo ${array[${#array[@]} - 1]}
g

As you can see, because we're dealing with a sparse array, this isn't the last element. This works on both sparse and contiguous arrays, though:

$ echo ${array[@]: -1}
i

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