Today I Learned

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Shell parameter expansion

Shells can perform variable expansion, this is really useful for default argument variables in shell functions.

Here is a simple example of assigning a variable from an argument or defaulting to running a different shell command:

clog() {
  log_date=${1-`date +%Y-%m-%d`}
  git log --after="$log_date 00:00" --before="$log_date 23:59"

This allows me to write

clog to default to today’s date or

clog 2018-10-02 to look at the logs from yesterday

The date in the example clog 2018-10-02 would come through as $1 in the function, so ${1-`date`} means run this shell command if there is no $1.