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10.7 How to Put if-then-else in a C Shell Alias

The C shell's brain damage (47.2) keeps you from using an if (47.3) with an else in an alias. You have to use a sourceable script (10.5). Or that's what I thought until I saw an article by Lloyd Zusman on comp.unix.questions in December 1987. He'd saved an earlier posting on that group (but without its author's name) that showed how. The trick: use enough backslashes (\) and the eval (8.10) command.

As an example, here's an alias named C for compiling (52.8) C programs. It needs the executable filename (like C prog), not the source filename (like C prog.c). If you type a filename ending in .c, it complains and quits. Else, it:

Your alias doesn't need to be as complicated. But this one shows some tricks, like putting an if inside the if, that you might want to use. The expressions like =~ and -e are explained in article 47.4. Watch your quoting - remember that the shell strips off one level of quoting when you set the alias (10.3) and another during the first pass of the eval. Follow this example and you'll probably be fine:


# COMPILE AND chmod C PROGRAMS; DON'T USE .c ON END OF FILENAME.
alias C 'eval "if (\!* =~ *.c) then \\
   echo "C quitting: no .c on end of \!* please." \\
else \\
   if (-e \!*) mv \!* \!*.old \\
   echo \!*.c SENT TO cc \\
   cc -s \!*.c -o \!* \\
   if (-e \!*) chmod 311 \!* \\
endif"'

- JP


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