Embed commands in if statements in bash

I’ve recently had to do some bash-fu and thought I’d document it in case I come across the need again. It involved an if statement inside a for loop. The if statement looked at the result of an external command and acted if conditions were met.

The scenario: An application created folders beginning with a series of digits.  Later it was decided to add a prefix to new folders. A problem occurred where there were folders with the same numeric sequence – corresponding to the same user – but the program was saving things in both prefixed and non-prefixed folders at random. We needed a way to copy information from the numeric only folders into the prefix folders, then backup and delete the numeric-only folders. We also wanted to be warned about any file overwrites in the process.

After a bunch of research and experimentation I came up with the following one-line bash script:

for d in [0-9]*; do BN=$(basename "$d"); if [[ $(find . -maxdepth 1 -type d -name "*$d" | grep -o $d | wc -l) = 2 ]]; then  cp -i -p -r "$d" ../archive/"$d"; cp -i -p -r "$d"/* "PREFIX_$BN"; rm -rf "$d"; fi; done

It does the following:

  • Scan the current directory for files (or folders) beginning with numbers
  • Save the basename of discovered file to a variable (basename was required to remove the ./ that showed up in the results) and use that variable for the copy command
  • Scans the current directory to see if there is another folder with the same string of numbers in its name (same name but only with a prefix attached)
  • If there is a folder with the same string of numbers in its name, copy the non-prefixed folder to an archive location, then copy its contents to the folder with the prefix, prompting before overwriting anything.
  • Once the copy is complete, delete the original non-prefixed folder

The big learning moment for me was embedding a bash command into an if statement. The if statement runs the find command, pipes to wc -l to count the number of results, and then compares that result to something else. Pretty handy.

Thanks to these sites for helping me in my journey:

If statement inside for loop: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/52800/how-to-do-an-if-statement-from-the-result-of-a-executed-command

Find results only in current directory:  https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/162411/find-maxdepth-0-not-returning-me-any-output

Count results from find command: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6181324/counting-regex-pattern-matches-in-one-line-using-sed-or-grep

Warn before overwriting files: https://askubuntu.com/questions/236478/how-do-i-make-bash-warn-me-when-overwriting-an-existing-file

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