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I need to expand a glob pattern (like ../smth*/*, or /etc/cron*/) into a list of files, programmatically. What would be the best way to do it?

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You don't need to do anything special, just don't quote the *. –  Kevin Mar 12 '12 at 14:32
Though if you're going to be trying to parse it, use an array like the answer says. –  Kevin Mar 12 '12 at 14:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Just let it expand inside an array declaration's right side:

bash-4.2# list=(../smth*/)          # grab the list

bash-4.2# echo "${#list[@]}"        # print array length

bash-4.2# echo "${list[@]}"         # print array elements

bash-4.2# for file in "${list[@]}"; do echo "$file"; done  # loop over the array
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And how do I print that list afterwards? –  Rogach Mar 12 '12 at 13:38
It is just a regular array. You can do whatever you can with any array. Added some examples. –  manatwork Mar 12 '12 at 13:44
There is a problem. If pattern matches no files, it prints itself - which is not very good. –  Rogach Mar 12 '12 at 14:21
Ah, shopt -s nullglob solves it. –  Rogach Mar 12 '12 at 14:25

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