This has probably been asked before, but I'm unsure how to word it. I want to type out a series of strings, which are basically string1, string2, string3; but without the redundant typing. So is there a way to type:

cat 'expr "/dev/input/event" "[1 2 3 4]" " "'*4

and have it resolve to:

cat /dev/input/event1 /dev/input/event2 /dev/input/event3 /dev/input/event4

so I don't have to type each device individually?

I also apologize for what's obviously a horrible misunderstanding of how the expr command works.

  • 5
    As an aside, this was tagged [regular-expression]. It's worth noting that filename wildcard patterns (globs) are not regular expressions. Even though they share some similarities, the syntax is different. Brace expansion is even more different. – ilkkachu Dec 31 '17 at 17:49

For expanding filenames (or device nodes) that exist already, then filename globbing is usually what you want:

The first would expand to event1 to event4, the second to any and all eventXX that exist:

cat /dev/input/event[1-4]
cat /dev/input/event*

If you don't care about existing files but want just strings, then brace expansion. Two ways to generate all of event1 to event4, the first one just takes a list, the second a range:

cat /dev/input/event{1,2,3,4}
cat /dev/input/event{1..4}

(The links are to BashGuide, which is a useful resource in itself.)

| improve this answer | |

What you're looking for is Brace Expansion:

3.5.1 Brace Expansion

You could do:

cat /dev/input/event{1..4}

I've created the following files on my machine:

$ touch input{1..4}
$ ls -l input{1..4}
-rw-r--r--  1 jessebutryn  staff  0 Dec 31 10:31 input1
-rw-r--r--  1 jessebutryn  staff  0 Dec 31 10:31 input2
-rw-r--r--  1 jessebutryn  staff  0 Dec 31 10:31 input3
-rw-r--r--  1 jessebutryn  staff  0 Dec 31 10:31 input4
$ for n in {1..4}; do echo "string$n">"input$n"; done
$ cat ./input{1..4}
$ echo {1..4}
1 2 3 4
$ echo {01..10}
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
$ echo {0..010}
000 001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010
$ echo {a..D}
a ` _ ^ ]  [ Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D
$ echo {a..z}{0..9}
a0 a1 a2 a3 a4 a5 a6 a7 a8 a9 b0 b1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7 b8 b9 c0 c1 c2 c3 c4 c5 c6 c7 c8 c9 d0 d1 d2 d3 d4 d5 d6 d7 d8 d9 e0 e1 e2 e3 e4 e5 e6 e7 e8 e9 f0 f1 f2 f3 f4 f5 f6 f7 f8 f9 g0 g1 g2 g3 g4 g5 g6 g7 g8 g9 h0 h1 h2 h3 h4 h5 h6 h7 h8 h9 i0 i1 i2 i3 i4 i5 i6 i7 i8 i9 j0 j1 j2 j3 j4 j5 j6 j7 j8 j9 k0 k1 k2 k3 k4 k5 k6 k7 k8 k9 l0 l1 l2 l3 l4 l5 l6 l7 l8 l9 m0 m1 m2 m3 m4 m5 m6 m7 m8 m9 n0 n1 n2 n3 n4 n5 n6 n7 n8 n9 o0 o1 o2 o3 o4 o5 o6 o7 o8 o9 p0 p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p9 q0 q1 q2 q3 q4 q5 q6 q7 q8 q9 r0 r1 r2 r3 r4 r5 r6 r7 r8 r9 s0 s1 s2 s3 s4 s5 s6 s7 s8 s9 t0 t1 t2 t3 t4 t5 t6 t7 t8 t9 u0 u1 u2 u3 u4 u5 u6 u7 u8 u9 v0 v1 v2 v3 v4 v5 v6 v7 v8 v9 w0 w1 w2 w3 w4 w5 w6 w7 w8 w9 x0 x1 x2 x3 x4 x5 x6 x7 x8 x9 y0 y1 y2 y3 y4 y5 y6 y7 y8 y9 z0 z1 z2 z3 z4 z5 z6 z7 z8 z9
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The in this case more appropriate approaches have already been presented. For the sake of completeness (which may be necessary if the same value is needed several times):

declare -a args
for value in 1 2 3 4; do

cat "${arg[@]}"
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If your shell doesn't support brace expansion you can resort to printf and xargs:

printf '/dev/input/event%s\n' 1 5 7 | xargs cat

If you want a sequence of numbers you can use seq and some string mangling instead of printf:

seq 10 20 | sed 's|^|/dev/input/event|' | xargs cat
| improve this answer | |

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