November 22, 2015

Easiest way to write scripts - maybe similar to DOS batch files

Hi all,

I realize that this is probably the oldest and most answered question here and I apologize.

I did search through the forums for this topic but what I was finding was mainly people wanting help with a script that needed tweaking, wouldn't work right, etc. without much explanation of the scripting type (is scripting language the proper term?).

Some of the examples I was seeing looked harder than C++, of which I have zero knowledge except seeing the code here and there in source files and such.

I had Java and Visual Basic programming in college (quite a while back now) so I'm familiar with at least a little scripting/programming. I used to be pretty handy with DOS batch files back in the day.

So, for a beginner, what do I need to familiarize myself with as far as scripting in Linux?

I know the purpose for which I intend to use it is key, so I'll say that it's basically to automate monotonous tasks which would usually require several commands to accomplish.

For example, to read the contents of a log file, re-direct it (append) to an existing file on the desktop or certain /home folder, and e-mail a copy to an email address, and finally change the timestamp on the log file and note in the appended file that the timestamp was indeed updated.

That's a silly convoluted example but it's pretty similar to some of the scripts I've seen.

Like I noted originally, it would be nice to keep it pretty simple such as a DOS batch file.

Here is an example of a script that is quite a bit too complex for me at this time without studying it more:

#!/bin/bash
# Simple CGI script

echo Content-type: text/plain
echo ""

LOG_FILE=/var/www/stat/local.log

# Show NUM lines
if [ -n "$QUERY_STRING" ]; then
NUM=$QUERY_STRING
else
if [ -n "$1" ]; then
NUM=$1
else
NUM=10
fi
fi

echo "Current statistic:"
tail -n $NUM "$LOG_FILE" | sort -r
#-----------------------------------------

Even though I've used IF THEN and IF ELSE, etc. statements in Visual Basic (Visual Studio now, I believe) I'm pretty rusty on it.

Sorry for the TL;DR post but I appreciate any advice some person smarter than me can give :)

Thank you in advance.

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