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Say I have a shell configuration file config like this:


Now I have a template template like this:

The host is <%= @HOST %>
The port is <%= @PORT %>

How do I substitute placeholders in template with values in config file?

I can certainly do it like this:

$ . config
$ sed -e "s/<%= @HOST %>/$HOST/" \
> -e "s/<%= @PORT %>/$PORT/" < template
The host is localhost
The port is 8080

But if there are many config values this becomes too cumbersome. How would I do this in more generic way? I would like to iterate over each placeholder and substitute it with a real value.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could do something like:

eval "cat << __end_of_template__
$(sed 's/[\$`]/\\&/g;s/<%= @\([^ ]*\) %>/${\1}/g' < template)

That is, have sed replace all the <%= @xxx %> with ${xxx} after having escaped all the $, \ and ` characters and let the shell do the expansion.

Or if you can't guarantee that template will not contain a __end_of_template__ line:

eval "cut -c2- << x
$(sed 's/[\$`]/\\&/g;s/<%= @\([^ ]*\) %>/${\1}/g;s/^/y/' < template)
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An awk way:

awk -F= 'FNR==NR{v[$1]=$2;next};{for(p in v)gsub("<%= @"p" %>",v[p])};1' config template

Updated according to Stephane Chazelas' comment to allow “=” signs in the values:

awk -F= 'FNR==NR{v[$1]=substr($0,length($1)+2);next};{for(p in v)gsub("<%= @"p" %>",v[p])};1' config template
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Note that that assumes that the value of the parameters don't contain "=" characters or the name of another parameter (like FOO="<%= @BAR %>") – Stéphane Chazelas Dec 6 '12 at 13:33

One way:


. config

while read line
        eval echo $(echo $line | sed "s/\([^<]*\)<%= @\([^ ]*\) %>/\1 \$\2/")
done < template


The host is localhost
The port is 8080

Using sed, we extract the characters till '<' and form a group(\1), and extract the placeholder and form another group(\2). This is substituted with the 1st group and then the dollar symbol followed by 2nd group. Just by using the eval command, the variable can be evaluated and gets expanded.

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Lines containing shell special characters will be seriously mangled and may cause your script to execute arbitrary code. If the input comes from a non-trusted source, this is a glaring security hole. You need to do some serious quoting and escaping to make this work. (See Stephane Chazelas's answer for an example of how to do it right.) – Gilles Dec 6 '12 at 23:11

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