Multi-lingual, Markdown-based Literate Shell Programming

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dev-master 2022-07-01 11:01 UTC

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mdsh is a bash script compiler and interpreter for markdown files. It can be used in a #! line to make markdown files executable, or it can be used as a standalone tool to generate dependency-free, distributable bash scripts from markdown files.

By default, mdsh only considers shell code blocks to be bash code, but you can also use @mdsh blocks to define handlers for other languages. For example, this script will run python-tagged code blocks by piping them to the python command:

#!/usr/bin/env mdsh

# Hello World in Python

The following code block is executed at compile time (due to the `@mdsh`).
(The first word on the opening line could be `shell` or `sh` or anything
else, as long as the second word is `@mdsh`.)

```bash @mdsh
mdsh-lang-python() { python; }

Now that we've defined a language handler for `python`, this next code
block is translated to shell code that runs python with the block's
contents on stdin:

print("hello world!")

Running the above markdown file produces the same results as this equivalent bash script:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
{ python; } <<'```'
print("hello world!")

mdsh supports processing blocks of any language that you can write a bash code snippet for, and even lets you write "compile-time" code to transform blocks containing metadata or DSL snippets into bash code. The results can be either executed on the fly for development, or deployed/distributed via mdsh --compile. Compiled scripts do not include any @mdsh code, nor do they have any hidden runtime dependencies: everything mdsh --compile outputs is code or data you gave it, or generated by bash code you gave it!



mdsh can be installed in any of the following ways:

  • Using basher, via basher install bashup/mdsh
  • Using composer, via composer require bashup/mdsh:dev-master (to add it to your project) or composer global require bashup/mdsh:dev-master (to install it globally)
  • Using git, by cloning this repo and copying or linking the bin/mdsh file to a directory on your PATH, or
  • Just downloading the script directly to a directory on your PATH, then running chmod +x on it)


Running mdsh markdownfile args... will read and translate unindented, triple-backquote fenced code blocks from markdownfile into bash code, based on the language listed on the block and any translation rules you've defined. The resulting translated script is then run, passing in args as positional arguments to the script.

Blocks tagged as shell are interpreted as bash code, and directly copied to the translated script. So arguments passed to mdsh after the path to the markdown file are available as $1, $2, etc. within the top-level code of shell blocks, just like in a regular bash script.

(Typically, you won't run mdsh directly, but will put #!/usr/bin/env mdsh on the first line of your markdown file instead, and make it executable with chmod +x. That way, users of your script won't need to do anything special to run it.)

You can also use mdsh --compile file1 file2... to translate one or more markdown files to bash code, sending the result to stdout. (A filename of - means "read from standard input".) This can be useful for debugging, or to make a distributable version of your script that does not require its users to have mdsh.

(There is also an mdsh --eval filename option, which is similar to --compile, but only takes one, non-stdin file, and emits special code at the end to support markdown files being sourced; see the section below on Making Sourceable Scripts for more details.)

Both --eval and --compile can be preceded with --out filename, in which case filename's contents will be replaced with mdsh's output, if and only if the compilation or run succeeds without any errors. (The output is buffered in-memory, then output all at once upon successful completion. If the file already existed, its permissions will remain unchanged.)

Data Blocks

The contents of unindented, triple-backquoted blocks that are not tagged shell or shell @mdsh are treated as data by default: their contents are added to bash arrays named according to the language on the block, e.g.:

# Data Arrays Example
Blocks without a defined language processor get translated to a variable
assignment like `mdsh_raw_json+=(\#\ block\ 0)` at that point in the
generated script:

{ "hello": "world" }
echo "${mdsh_raw_json[0]}"   # prints '{ "hello": "world" }'
{ "this is": "great" }
echo "${mdsh_raw_json[0]}"   # prints '{ "hello": "world" }'
echo "${mdsh_raw_json[1]}"   # prints '{ "this is": "great" }'

## Naming Rules
Language names are *case sensitive*, and non-identifier
characters in language names become `_` in variable names:

// hey
echo "${mdsh_raw_C__[0]}"   # prints '// hey'

Of course, it would be even better if you could automate the processing of these blocks, so you don't have to follow every block with another shell block to process it! Which is why the next section is on...

Processing Non-shell Languages

To automate the handling of non-shell language blocks, you can define one or more @mdsh blocks, containing "hook functions". @mdsh blocks are a bit like a Makefile, in that they define rules for how to build parts of your script, based on the language used.

These build rules are specified by defining specially-named bash functions. Unlike functions in shell blocks, these functions are not part of your script and therefore can't be called directly. Instead, mdsh itself invokes them (or copies out their source code), whenever a subsequent block's language matches one of the functions' names.

The language of a markdown code block is normally just one word after its opening backquotes. But if more than one word appears, then mdsh considers the language to be either the second word (if it begins with @), or the entire line flattened into a single variable name. Some example translations:

Block Opening Effective Language Function Names
```C++ C++ mdsh-lang-C++
```C++ example C___example mdsh-lang-C___example
```foo bar.baz spam foo_bar_baz_spam mdsh-lang-foo_bar_baz_spam
```foo @bar.baz spam bar.baz mdsh-lang-bar.baz
```shell script shell_script mdsh-lang-shell_script
```shell @mdsh mdsh mdsh-lang-mdsh

Function names are interpreted as follows:

  • An mdsh-lang-X function is a template for code to be run when a block of language X is encountered. Its function body is copied to the translated script as a bash compound statment (i.e. in curly braces{...}) , that will execute with the block contents as on its standard input. (Its standard output is the same as the overall script's.)
  • An mdsh-compile-X function is invoked at compile time with the block contents as $1, and must output a bash source code translation of the block on its stdout. The block's full original language tag is in $2, and the code block's starting line number is in $3.
  • If neither an mdsh-lang-X nor mdsh-compile-X function exists, mdsh-misc is invoked at compile time with the raw language tag as $1 and the block contents as $2. The output of mdsh-misc will be added to the compiled script. (The default implementation of mdsh-misc outputs code to save the block contents in a variable, as described above in the Data Blocks section, above.)
  • An mdsh-after-X function is a template for code to be run after a block of language X is encountered. Its function body is copied to the translated script as a block just after the mdsh-lang-X body, mdsh-compile-X output, or mdsh_raw_X+=(contents) statement. It does not receive the block source, so its standard input and output are those of the script itself.

If both an mdsh-lang-X and mdsh-compile-X function exist, mdsh-lang-X takes precedence. Defining either one also disables the $mdsh_raw_X functionality: only untranslatable "data" blocks are added to the arrays.

If there is no mdsh-lang-X or mdsh-compile-X however, the mdsh-after-X function can read the most recent block's contents from ${mdsh_raw_VARNAME[-1]} (unless you've replaced the default mdsh-misc implementation). If you don't unset the array, it will keep growing as more blocks of that language are encountered.

Note: these function names are case sensitive, so a block tagged with an uppercase C will not trigger the same functions as a block tagged with a lowercase c, or vice-versa. Also, note that because mdsh blocks are executed at compile time, they do not have access to the script's arguments or I/O: all you can do in them is define hook functions.

Finally, please remember that you usually shouldn't put any code in an @mdsh block aside from hook functions, unless you're intentionally doing metaprogramming or code generation. That's because @mdsh blocks are not part of the translated script, they are part of the translation process. So any functions you define in them won't be around when the script actually runs, and any changes you make to variables won't be still around when the actual script execution happens.

Advanced Block Compilation Techniques

Once you've gotten used to doing some mdsh-lang-X functions, why not try your hand at some mdsh-compile ones?

For example, in the jqmd project, I originally had some code that looked like this:

YAML() { JSON "$(echo "$1" | yaml2json -)"; }

mdsh-lang-yaml() { YAML "$(cat)"; }

Which works pretty well, except, since the YAML is a constant value, why not convert it to JSON during compilation? That way, we could eliminate the runtime overhead (if we save and rerun the compiled script):

mdsh-compile-yaml() { printf 'JSON %q\n' "$(echo "$1" | yaml2json)"; }

Notice the difference between the two functions: the lang function is a code template. mdsh copies its body into your script source, resulting in code that looks like:

    YAML "$(cat)"
} <<'```'
... yaml data here ...

But the compile function simply runs yaml2json immediately, and then writes out the translated data, like so:

JSON json here...

Notice the use of printf with %q -- this results in the data being properly escaped to work as a command line argument. (Take care when you do direct code generation to escape such values properly. When you need to insert variable data into generated code, always use printf with a constant string format, with %q placeholders for any standalone arguments.)

Notice too, by the way, that compile functions get access to the actual block text, which means that you can do any sort of code generation you like. For example, I could have taken the output of yaml2json, and run jq over it, then looped over the output and written bash code to set variables based on the result, or generated code for subcommands based on the specification, or maybe even generated an argument parser from it. There are all sorts of interesting possibilities for these kinds of code generation techniques!

Compile-Time Variables

In addition to their positional arguments, compile-time hooks such as mdsh-misc and mdsh-compile-X also receive a few variables that can be helpful for parsing special block headers or generating error messages:

  • ${tag_words[@]} is an array of the whitespace-separated words from the original block opening line. For example, if a block opened with ```foo @bar.baz spam, then tag_words=([0]="foo" [1]="@bar.baz" [2]="spam"). (${#tag_words[@]} is the number of words.)
  • $mdsh_lang is the language of the block as viewed by mdsh -- i.e., the X in mdsh-lang-X. (So it's either ${tag_words[0]}, ${tag_words[1]#@}, or the entire line contents with non-identifier characters replaced by _.)
  • If the source being compiled is a file, $MDSH_SOURCE is the source filename.
  • $block_start is the starting line number of the block in the original source.
  • $mdsh_block contains the text of the block
  • $mdsh_tag contains the original block opening line (i.e., the unsplit form of tag_words)

(These variables are also usable by compile-time command blocks, as described in the next section.)

Programmatic Block Generation

The mdsh-block function allows you to programmatically generate a code block of a designated language. This can be useful for e.g. conditional blocks. For example, this if-env function can be used in a command block to generate code that will check the value of $WP_ENV at runtime and conditionally execute the block's contents:

```shell @mdsh
if-env() {
   printf -v REPLY '|%q' "$@"
   echo "case \$WP_ENV in ${REPLY#|})"
   mdsh-block "$mdsh_lang" "$mdsh_block" "$block_start"
   echo "esac"

```css !if-env dev staging
/* This CSS is only used in dev and staging */

The mdsh-block function takes up to four arguments: a language, a block body, a starting line number, and a "raw" language tag (which defaults to the language if not given). The first three arguments are also optional, defaulting to $mdsh_lang, $mdsh_block, and $block_start if omitted. (Which means the above code could have just called mdsh-block with no arguments!)

mdsh-block follows the standard language lookup logic, looking first for mdsh-lang-X, then mdsh-compile-X, and then falling back to mdsh-misc, cloning mdsh-after-X as well if applicable. It does not support command blocks or language aliases, so no @ ,+, !, or | expressions can be used. It's intended for use in compile-time code only, i.e. ! command blocks, @mdsh blocks, and handlers like mdsh-misc and mdsh-compile-X functions.

Command Blocks and Arguments

Sometimes you have only one block that needs to be processed in a particular way, or each block of a particular language needs unique arguments to compile or execute. For these scenarios, you can define "command blocks".

A command block is a code block whose language tag's second word begins with a |, +, or !:

  • If it's a |, the remainder of the language tag is executed at runtime with the block's contents on standard input (just like an mdsh-lang-X function body), and the shell variable mdsh_lang set to the first word of the language tag.
  • If it's a +, the remainder of the language tag is executed at runtime with the block's contents as an extra command line argument, and the shell variable mdsh_lang set to the first word of the language tag.
  • If it's a !, the remainder of the language tag is executed at compile time with the block's contents in $1, and must output compiled code to standard output (just like an mdsh-compile-X function). The full language tag is in $2, and the code block's starting line number is in $3. All of the standard compile-time variables are available, including mdsh_lang, tag_words, block_start, and possibly MDSH_SOURCE.

In all of the above cases, $mdsh_lang is set to the first word of the language tag, but is not otherwise included in the command line executed. (It's assumed to be a syntax highlighting hint, but can also be used as a parameter if your code references $mdsh_lang.)

Command blocks override normal language function lookups, so no mdsh-after-X , mdsh-lang-X, or mdsh-compile-X functions are looked up or executed for command blocks. Thus, this code as input to mdsh:

```json !printf "echo %q\n" "# line $3, $mdsh_lang block:"  "def example: $1;"
{"foo": "bar"}

```html +echo "The $mdsh_lang is:"
<html />

```python |python - "a $mdsh_lang block"
import sys; print "hello, world from "+sys.argv[1]

would compile to the following shell script:

echo \#line\ 49, json block:
echo $'def example: {"foo": "bar"}\n;'
echo "The html is:" $'<html />\n'
python - "a python block" <<<'```'
import sys; print "hello, world from "+sys.argv[1]

Notice that both forms of command block tags can contain virtually arbitrary bash code, including pipes, substitutions, etc., but must not contain backquote characters, as the Commonmark specification calls for treating such lines as regular text with inline code, rather than the start of a fenced code block. mdsh and other Commonmark-conforming tools will therefore not even recognize the line as beginning a code block, and parsing of the rest of the input file will be thrown off, with code being interpreted as text and vice versa.

Tips and Techniques

Literate Testing

Documents created with mdsh can include example shell sessions that are tested using the cram functional testing tool. Just set cram's indent level to 4 and use 4-space indented blocks for your cram-tested examples, optionally wrapped in ~~~ fenced code blocks like this:

    $ echo "hello world!"
    hello world!

Cram looks for $ or > and a space, indented to a certain level, then runs the command(s) and verifies the output. So cram needs to know what indentation you're using.

mdsh ignores 4-space indented and ~~~ fenced blocks, so it won't be confused by your examples. You can get github to syntax-highlight your examples by including a language tag like ~~~bash or ~~~shell.

Explaining all the ins and outs of using cram is beyond the scope of this guide, but in the simplest case, using cram --indent 4 will run any 4-space indented examples in

(Note that cram does not actually understand markdown, so it will try to run anything that begins with "$ " or "> " at the specified indent. Non-example code that starts that way can typically be outdented slightly or indented further so that cram will ignore it. Until this PR is merged, you'll want to use this fork of cram, which is patched to ignore indented lines that aren't directly part of an example. If you use .devkit's cram module, your tests will automatically run with the correct version.)

Excluding Blocks From The Generated Script

If your script has a lot of documentation examples that contain fenced code blocks, you may want to exclude these from being processed or copied to bash variables. There are two main ways you can do this.

First, you can change the way you indicate certain code blocks. All of these are currently ignored by mdsh and do not generate any code:

  • Code blocks indented with four spaces, instead of fenced

  • Code blocks fenced with ~~~X instead of ```X

  • Code blocks fenced with more than three backquotes, or which are indented

  • Code blocks with no language given

  • Immediate command blocks whose command is empty or a no-op. (That is, blocks whose language is a single word followed by a space and a ! character, optionally followed by a shell comment or no-op shell command.) For example both of these code blocks would be omitted from a compiled script:

    ```python ! # mdsh won't do anything with this block
    raise RuntimeError("This won't actually run!")
    ​``````shell !
    echo "No comment is actually needed.  This block is ignored, too."

Alternately, you can define empty mdsh-compile-X functions in an mdsh block, for each language you want to exclude from the compilation, or define an mdsh-misc function that does nothing. (Which will disable data blocks entirely; see the section on Metaprogramming and Code Generation below for more info on mdsh-misc.)

Making Executable (and Editable) Markdown Files

If you want to make a markdown file directly executable, you can chmod +x it and give it a shebang line such as #!/usr/bin/env mdsh. This will then let you run args.. without needing to type mdsh in front of it.

If you want to get rid of the .md extension on your script, you'll probably want to also add a line to tell Github, your editor, etc. that the file is still markdown, e.g.:

#!/usr/bin/env mdsh
<!-- ex: set syntax=markdown : -->
<!-- -*- mode: markdown -*- -->

This will tell Github, atom (with the vim-modeline package), vim, emacs, and other editor/display tools that the file is actually Markdown.

(Alternately, you can keep the .md on the file for editing, but use an extensionless symlink to run it without needing to type the .md.)

Making Sourceable Scripts (and handling $0)

It's often good practice to write scripts in such a way that the functions they define can be used by other scripts, usually by source-ing them. This leads to the common pattern of writing code like this at the end of bash scripts, to only run the script's main function if the script was not sourced:

if [[ $0 == $BASH_SOURCE ]]; then
    # Not `source`d: run as script
    my-main "$@"
    exit $?

This practice is no different with mdsh: whether you execute your script with an mdsh #! line, or compile it and run it, the variables $0 and $BASH_SOURCE will only be equal if your program was run as a script.

Unfortunately, when mdsh is run via the #! line, the only way to ensure these values are equal is if they're both empty. That means $0 will be an empty string, which may interfere with common practices like using it in "usage" messages to denote the program name.

As a workaround, mdsh defines an $MDSH_ZERO argument for you, if and only if your script was invoked directly. It contains the value that $0 and $BASH_SOURCEwould have had, if your script had been compiled. You can thus use ${0:-$MDSH_ZERO} to portably retrieve the invoking script name, regardless of whether your script was compiled or interpreted.

But that still doesn't make your script sourceable. It's markdown, not bash, after all. So if another script tries to source it, it'll get all sorts of syntax and other errors.

To fix that, we need a shelldown header: two lines of code that execute in bash, but are hidden in most markdown renderings, and still tell our editors (and Github) to ignore the #! line and treat the file as markdown, not bash:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
: '
<!-- ex: set ft=markdown : '; eval "$(mdsh --eval "$BASH_SOURCE")" # -->

# My Awesome Script

...code goes here...

Now, our script is in bash syntax, for just long enough to compile the document and run the result. Compiling the script with mdsh --eval makes a version that's safe to eval and source, by adding an extra line to the end of the code that does a return $? or exit $?, depending on whether the script was sourced. (This ensures that bash stops processing the file during the eval, before it can get confused by the markdown content that follows.)

As a result, this file can be either run or source-d without any issues. What's more, you can mdsh --compile it to create a plain bash script (that's still runnable and source-able), without needing any code changes.

That's because when you directly run or source the script, you're really executing the same code that would be compiled, in the same environment, with $BASH_SOURCE pointing to the actual file. (And $0 matching it, unless it's being sourced.)

So why not use this method all the time? Well, you certainly can. And if you don't mind copying and pasting it into all your new scripts, then by all means go ahead! However, an mdsh #! line is definitely the easier choice for one-off scripts that aren't being sourced, where you aren't using the value of $0, and you don't care about editor support.

Syntax Highlighting and Language Aliasing

Because mdsh is not a widely-recognized language, Github and other markdown editing/processing tools generally don't know how to highlight them properly. As a workaround, you can give a block tag of shell @mdsh , which most tools will then interpret as a shell block for highlighting purposes. e.g.:

```shell @mdsh
echo 'echo "Most tools will highlight this block as shell script"'

Metaprogramming and Code Generation

Any output from a mdsh-tagged block becomes part of the generated bash script at the point where the block occurs. This means that you can simply cat other bash files to include them (or use mdsh-embed; see the next section), or do anything else you like to generate code there. This can be a useful alternative to using source to load functions, as it means that the resulting script can be --compiled to a single file that doesn't need the other modules present.

If you want to programmatically process individual blocks in some fashion (for example, to extract filenames from their language tags), you can define an mdsh-misc function. For each block without an mdsh-lang-X or mdsh-compile-X function, mdsh-misc is called with the language tag and block contents as arguments, and its output is appended to the compiled script at that point in the file.

So for example, when run, this script outputs the contents of the text block to file1.txt:

mdsh-misc() {
    if [[ $1 == *'>'* ]]; then echo -n "$2" >"${1#*>}"; fi
​``````text >file1.txt
Some text goes here!

Of course, the possible applications of mdsh-misc are considerably more varied than just writing blocks to files. You could, for example:

  • Emulate the "tangling" features of other literate programming tools (by having mdsh-misc save the contents of blocks to different variables based on their tag information, and then ending your program with an mdsh block that outputs the saved blocks in the desired order)
  • Interpret tags as arguments for how a block should be processed
  • Treat blocks tags starting with | as a pipeline to preprocess the block with

...and just about anything else you can imagine.

"Static Linking" for Distribution

You can use the mdsh-embed function to embed the source of other bash modules into your script. Calling mdsh-embed modulename inside an mdsh block will search PATH for modulename (unless modulename contains a /), and then output its source code, wrapped in a heredoc and source command. (This ensures that the embedded module will know it was sourced, and not run via the command line, even if the embedding script was run from the command line.)

The net result is that by using mdsh-embed in your mdsh block(s) to load your modules (instead of source inside your shell blocks), you gain the ability to --compile your script to a "statically-linked executable". That is, you can create a single file that contains all the modules it needs, so your users don't have to install all your dependencies themselves, and don't need a specific package manager to install your script.

Extending mdsh or Reusing its Functions

Sourcing mdsh from a bash script will define all its functions, but not actually run a program. This allows you to change how command line arguments are processed, or predefine additional language hooks, teardown hooks, etc. (You can also just do it to make use of the included markdown processing functions.)

(Note that sourcing mdsh will set bash to "unofficial strict mode" , i.e. -euo pipefail. mdsh is written with the assumption that these settings are in effect, so changing them may have undesirable results.)

If what you're writing is just "mdsh with more languages", you can do so like this:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
source "$(command -v mdsh)"

mdsh-compile-somelang() {
    # etc.

# ...

[[ $0 == $BASH_SOURCE ]] && mdsh-main "$@"

That is, just source mdsh and define your additional language handlers, then run mdsh-main "$@": your script will then have the same command-line interface as mdsh, but all its help messages will refer to the name of your script, instead of mdsh.

Adding File Headers or Footers

If your extended version of mdsh needs to add headers or footers to generated files, you can define functions named mdsh:file-header and/or mdsh:file-footer. The --compile option will call these functions once at the start and end of the compilation process, wrapping the entire output. --eval will works similarly, except that the --eval footer will appear after mdsh:file-footer.

Altering Existing Functions

In some cases, you may wish to also alter parts of mdsh's behavior, by replacing some of its functions. You can, however, avoid the need to copy those function into your code by using mdsh-rewrite. mdsh-rewrite is a function normally used in the mdsh compiler to rewrite mdsh-lang-X and mdsh-after-X function bodies, but you can adapt it to do AOP-like editing of bash functions.

For example, jqmd adds a header and footer to files compiled with jqmd --compile and jqmd --eval, by adding a function call to the start and end of the mdsh.--compile function:

eval "mdsh.--compile() $(mdsh-rewrite mdsh.--compile '{ jqmd-header;' 'jqmd-footer; }')"

(mdsh-rewrite takes a function name and two optional strings that will replace the opening and closing brace lines of the function body. The result is output to stdout, where it becomes the body of the new function.)

Available Functions

The following functions are available for your use or alteration in scripts sourcing mdsh:

  • mdsh-run mdfile [cache-key [args...]] -- source the compiled version of the specified markdown file with args as its positional arguments ($1, $2, etc.). The directory in $MDSH_CACHE (if any) is used to cache the compiled version in a file whose name is generated using cache-key. If cache-key is missing or empty, mdfile is used as the cache key.

    To set a specific cache directory or disable caching, set it using MDSH_CACHE= on the same line as mdsh-run, e.g. MDSH_CACHE= mdsh-run somefile to run somefile without caching. Sourcing or running mdsh sets the default MDSH_CACHE to $XDG_CACHE_HOME/mdsh or $HOME/.cache/mdsh, as appropriate for your OS.

  • mdsh-use-cache [cachedir] -- sets MDSH_CACHE to cachedir. If no arguments are given, MDSH_CACHE is reset to the default of $XDG_CACHE_HOME/mdsh or $HOME/.cache/mdsh, as appropriate.

  • run-markdown mdfile args... -- source the compiled version of mdfile with args as its positional arguments ($1, $2, etc.), without using a cache.

  • mdsh-error format args... --printf format args to stderr and terminate the process with errorlevel 64 (EX_USAGE) . (A linefeed is added to the format string automatically.)

  • mdsh-compile -- accepts markdown on stdin and outputs bash code on stdout. The compilation takes place in a subshell, so hook functions defined in the code being compiled do not affect the caller's environment. Hook functions already defined in the caller's environment, however, will be used to translate blocks of the relevant languages.

  • mdsh-source -- like mdsh-compile, but not run in subshell, so any hook functions or compile-time variable changes will affect the caller, as if the included source were part of the including document.

  • mdsh-embed modulename -- look for modulename on PATH (unless it contains a /), and dump its contents wrapped in a source command and heredoc. Returns failure if modulename isn't found or can't be read. (Note: unlike Bash's source command, this function does not fall back to looking for the module in the current directory. If you want a file in the current directory, use ./modulename).

  • mdsh-rewrite function before after -- output the body block of function on stdout, optionally replacing the opening and closing braces with before and after. (If you're using this to "edit" a function, remember that the replacements must include the opening and closing braces, and the closing brace must be preceded by either a newline or a semicolon or space.)

  • mdsh-make sourcefile destfile [cmd args...] -- compile sourcefile to destfile if destfile doesn't exist or has a different timestamp than sourcefile, running cmd args... before starting compilation. Compilation (and cmd args...) are run in a subshell. On successful compilation, destfile is touched so its timestamp is the same as sourcefile.

  • mdsh-cache cachedir sourcefile [key [cmd args...]] -- like mdsh-make, except the destination file is automatically generated as a filename within cachedir and returned in $REPLY. If a non-empty key is specified, it is used instead of sourcefile to generate the destination filename. The cachedir is automatically created if it does not exist. Generated filenames are an escaped version of the key or sourcefile, such that they are always a file directly under cachedir, even if the source filename has slashes in it.

  • exit [code [message [args...]]] -- exit with status code (defaulting to $? if not given), after displaying message on stderr. If args are given, they're formatted using message as a printf format string (with an automatically-added newline).