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My code below doesn't work:

stringZ="    "

if [[ "$stringZ" == ^[[:blank:]][[:blank:]]*$ ]];then
  echo  string is  blank
  echo string is not blank


string is not blank   # wrong

How can I test this?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No need for bash specific code:

case $string in
  (*[^[:blank:]]*) echo "string is not blank";;
  ("") echo "string is empty";;
  (*) echo "string is blank"
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From man bash:

An additional binary operator, =~, is available, with the same precedence as == and !=. When it is used, the string to the right of the operator is considered an extended regular expression and matched accordingly (as in regex(3)).

So the regular expression matching operator should be =~:

if [[ "$stringZ" =~ ^[[:blank:]][[:blank:]]*$ ]];then
  echo  string is  blank
  echo string is not blank

You can reduce the verbosity of the regular expression by using + quantifier (meaning previous entity 1 or more times):

if [[ "$stringZ" =~ ^[[:blank:]]+$ ]]; then
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