Array in bourne shell?

Posted on 2000-02-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Can we simulate a array in bourne shell?  If yes, how?
Question by:ramalaks
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2556069
In a POSIX-compliant shell, you get name[number] style arrays.  If you're running genuine olde fashioned Bourne shell, however, you can't do that.  You could, in theory, cobble together something that looks like
  get_value name_number
  set_value name_number value
but this would be greatly complicated by the fact that genuine olde fashioned Bourne shell also does not support shell functions.

Author Comment

ID: 2556135
You mean, form the string in such a way that it appears as array element?

Will this work if the array size is not known?  
LVL 84

Expert Comment

ID: 2556584
What array operations do you want to simulate?
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Author Comment

ID: 2558020
I will have to use array of strings and the size is based on the input argument to the shell script which is not a fixed value.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2558267
You haven't answered the fundamental question posed by my original post.  Are you using genuine olde fashioned Bourne shell, or aren't you?  If you're writing your own script, that sounds like you're under no constraints as far as what scripting language you use, so you can use one that's based on POSIX.2 compliant shell such as Korn Shell (ksh).  Actually, most modern .*x systems have a POSIX compliant /bin/sh as well.

The syntax looks like this
  echo "${vbl[$index]}"

There's no need to pre-declare the size of the array (as there was in early version of Korn Shell).

Author Comment

ID: 2558409
Sorry chris, It is old fashioned bourne shell which does not support arrays.
That is why, I asked if we can simulate by string cat to form variables look  like array. I dont know how to do that.

Yes, Csh, and Ksh support arrays. I can always use ksh. But I was curious to know how to simulate array in bourne becuase, I have done almost 50% of my script in Bourne..at one point I will need an array. Thanks

I still want to know how do we simulate array in bourne shell?  
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

chris_calabrese earned 75 total points
ID: 2558502
value="hello world"
eval "array_$index='$value'"
eval echo '"$'"array_$index"'"'

Author Comment

ID: 2577838
eval "array_$no='$i'"
eval echo "$"array_$no""

Works. Thanks and points to chris.

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