If I pass variable as a positional argument to a function, is it possible to determine the name of the variable used from inside the function, or I can only access its value?

I have a function envir-export that I can use to define an environment variable and store it in a special environment file that would then get sourced.

envir-export ()
  echo "export ${nm}=${vl}" >> ${envirs_trkrc}/envirs.rc

  source ${envirs_trkrc}/envirs.rc
  echo "$nm exported with value $vl"

Currently I am using by the following call

envir-export VERBOS 8

Using the name VERBOS with value 8.

I would like to improve on this function, both in convenience, and also functionally.

For instance, if no value is supplied then I only export the name with a value being assigned.


1 Answer 1


Common practice for achieving this is do something like

function envir-export () {
  echo 'the name is '"$name"
  echo 'the value is '"$value"

envir-export VERBOS=8

$ function f () { name="${1%%=*}" ; value="${1##*=}" ; echo name "$name" ; echo value "$value" ; } ; f VERBOS=8
value 8

Check the bash manpage and search for 'Parameter Expansion' for a howto on splitting the input into name and value.

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