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SAP NetWeaver Newbie

Interactive Shell Scripts - Read Command

The read command accepts input from terminal or a file until the input reaches a newline.


reads from the std input and assigns it to variable REPLY

read NAME
reads from the std input and assigns it to variable NAME

read x y
reads the first std input till the first space and assignes it to x. the rest of the input (till new line) is assigned to y.

read ANSWER?"Choose a number"
Displays "Choose a number", reads the input and assigns it to ANSWER.

Important option flags

-A                    input is stored as an array
-d char             uses specified char as delimiter, instead of the default delimiter - newline
-t num_sec       waits for num_sec seconds for a response
-un                   reads from file descriptor n

A known problem is discussed here. For some reason if the read command doesn't work use the following example:
read RESPONSE < /dev/tty

Further Reading

Check out Wicked Cool Shell Scripts by Dave Taylor.
Just reading through the table of contents is inspiring and intriguing; did you know you could write a script to retrieve movie info from IMDb? or track the value of your stock portfolio? or that you can use a very simple script to check spelling on your web pages?


  1. read ANSWER?"Choose a number" does not work on /bin/sh on Solaris.

    1. That's right. You can use echo and read to have similar output as with ?

      echo "Enter your name: \c"
      read ANSWER


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