Shell scripting input redirection oddities

Question!

Can anyone explain this behavior? Running:

#!/bin/sh
echo "hello world" | read var1 var2
echo $var1
echo $var2

results in nothing being ouput, while:

#!/bin/sh
echo "hello world" > test.file
read var1 var2 < test.file
echo $var1
echo $var2

produces the expected output:

hello
world

Shouldn't the pipe do in one step what the redirection to test.file did in the second example? I tried the same code with both the dash and bash shells and got the same behavior from both of them.



Answers

Allright, I figured it out!

This is a hard bug to catch, but results from the way pipes are handled by the shell. Every element of a pipeline runs in a separate process. When the read command sets var1 and var2, is sets them it its own subshell, not the parent shell. So when the subshell exits, the values of var1 and var2 are lost. You can, however, try doing

var1=$(echo "Hello")
echo var1

which returns the expected answer. Unfortunately this only works for single variables, you can't set many at a time. In order to set multiple variables at a time you must either read into one variable and chop it up into multiple variables or use something like this:

set -- $(echo "Hello World")
var1="$1" var2="$2"
echo $var1
echo $var2

While I admit it's not as elegant as using a pipe, it works. Of course you should keep in mind that read was meant to read from files into variables, so making it read from standard input should be a little harder.

By : num1


A recent addition to bash is the lastpipe option, which allows the last command in a pipeline to run in the current shell, not a subshell, when job control is deactivated.

#!/bin/bash
set +m      # Deactiveate job control
shopt -s lastpipe
echo "hello world" | read var1 var2
echo $var1
echo $var2

will indeed output

hello
world
By : chepner


read var1 var2 < <(echo "hello world")


This video can help you solving your question :)
By: admin