Shell scripts are often handy, even if you never intend to write software. One problem that most users face is typing a complicated command correctly. For example, let's say you need to type the following monstrosity:
soelim a.ms b.ms | pic | eqn | tbl | troff -ms -a | more
(This isn't unrealistic; I've typed this particular command a few times.) Rather than spend all that time typing, then backspacing to fix some error, then typing some more, then backspacing again, you can create a very simple "throwaway" shell script with your favorite editor:
# shell script "foo" for one-time use soelim a.ms b.ms | pic | eqn | tbl | troff -ms -a -rz1 | more
Use your editor to play with the script until the command looks right - any half-competent text editor will be much easier to work with than the "raw" command line. Then execute it like this:
If you don't think you'll need this command again, you can delete the file - or use ain the first place. But before you use rm, think: most things that you do once, you'll need to do again. Give it an intelligent name, and save it in your . You're now a shell programmer.
This is also a great idea for complex sequences of commands.