I would like to use heredoc in a zsh alias, for example:

alias runthing="cd ~; date << HERE

However every time I run this alias, the shell acts as if I have not terminated the heredoc, and displays this:

➜  ~ runthing

Entering here at the heredoc> line finishes the command, although I do not want to do this, thus the alias. I am using oh-my-zsh if that is making any difference.

How do I use heredoc correctly in a zsh alias?

  • 2
    Hello and welcome! It's unclear which shell are you using. Zsh or Bash? I just tried it with bash and it works on my system (well, you have a typo, should be alias runthing=... and not alias=runthing=... in bash). – Mr Shunz Sep 18 '18 at 10:21
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    @MrShunz, the heredoc> secondary prompt is proof that it is zsh. I've edited the question to remove the confusing references to bash. – Stéphane Chazelas Sep 18 '18 at 10:57

The here doc delimiter has to be a delimited line in the alias in zsh (it does look like a bug as you do add that delimiter when you press enter), so:

alias runthing='cd; date << HERE

Here, using an alias is wrong though. Consider for instance:

echo foo || runthing

Because alias is just a form of code text substitution (aliases is before all a csh feature, csh had no functions), that becomes

echo foo || cd; date...

Which means date would be run even though echo was successful.

You'd better use a function here:

runthing() {
  cd && date << EOF

(of course, it makes little sense to feed a heredoc to date given that date doesn't read its stdin, I just assume, it was only for the example).

  • Yep date was just an example! This worked perfectly, thanks! – Brian Hamill Sep 19 '18 at 9:53

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