I wrote a simple script to go through my development project directory and add an alias shortcut for each one:

shopt -s dotglob #Use shopt -u dotglob to exclude hidden directories
find ~/development/* -prune -type d | while IFS= read -r d; do 
    cmd="alias ${cur_dir}=\"code $d\""
    echo "executing: $cmd"

And the output looks like this:

executing: alias project-1="code /home/my_user/development/project-1"
./alias_for_projects.sh: line 6: alias: /home/my_user/development/project-1": not found

If I copy and run the command:

alias project-1="code /home/my_user/development/project-1"

it just works... How do I fix my script?

  • @PauloTomé - your edit was incorrect! – Leo Apr 9 '20 at 11:12
  • Use an array to create the cmd, or better yet, just execute alias "${cur_dir}"="code $d" instead of running $cmd – muru Apr 9 '20 at 11:17
  • @muru - if I just alias "${cur_dir}"="code $d" when I then try to run project-1 it returns project-1: command not found – Leo Apr 9 '20 at 11:21
  • To make your new aliases work outside of the while-loop, see Modify global variable in while loop – Freddy Apr 9 '20 at 11:25

You have two problems:

  1. It's tricky to run a command stored in a variable. But you don't really need to store the command in a variable. You can just do alias "${cur_dir}"="code $d" where you run $cmd.

  2. You're running alias in subshell. Bash runs piped commands in a subshell (unless lastpipe is set). But you don't need the pipe (or find either). You can just use regular globbing (which you're already using, so the find makes even less sense).


shopt -s dotglob
for d in ~/development/*/; do         # trailing slash - only directories match
    cur_dir="${d%/}"                  # strip trailing slash
    alias "${cur_dir}"="code $d"

After reading all comments, I fixed my script like this:

shopt -s dotglob #Use shopt -u dotglob to exclude hidden directories
while IFS= read -r d; do 
    #echo "${cur_dir}"="code $d"
    alias "${cur_dir}"="code $d"
done <<<$(find ~/development/* -prune -type d)

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