Whitespace breaking my egrep command

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# 1  
Old 10-05-2011
Whitespace breaking my egrep command


I am writing a bash script which will dynamically generate an egrep command searching for a number of times within a file.

The problem is that I am putting a space in a variable called timestr. When I echo the variable the space comes out normally:
'(2011-10-05 12:|2011-10-05 13)'

When I try and use it in an egrep command it puts single quotes there and messes up the command:
+ grep TEST /var/tmp/TEST.log
+ egrep ''\''(2011-10-05' '12:|2011-10-05' '13)'\'''
egrep: Unmatched ( or \(

Below is my code:
todayf=$(date +%Y-%m-%d)
todayf="${todayf} "
#Calc hr range
for (( i=${starthr}; $i <= ${endhr}; i++ ))
        if [ ${i} -eq ${starthr} ]
echo ${timestr}
grep =${searchstr} $logpath/$logfile | egrep ${timestr}

Any ideas where I am going wrong?
# 2  
Old 10-05-2011
If you properly quote your variables like "${VARIABLE}" that should properly preserve the spaces in it.

That said, I don't understand your strategy here, particularly in putting literal brackets and single quotes into your search string since these don't appear to be what you're looking for.

Also this: grep =${searchstr} $logpath/$logfile | egrep ${timestr} would seem to imply you're looking a literal = character right before your search string? Is that correct?

Could you explain what you're trying to do, not just the manner you wish to accomplish it?
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# 3  
Old 10-05-2011
Thanks for the response, that's done the trick. Can't believe it was staring me in the face all that time!

I was building the search string to create the same command I would if I was manually issuing it. I always use
egrep '(TERM_A|TERM_B|TERM_C)'

I believe the brackets are superfluous but I guess it's a habit. I guess I could also have done -e but then I'd still of had my whitespace issue.

As you have noticed, I am actually looking for a literal = character in front of my search string, that is intentional.

The script is designed so that I will pass in arguments specifying the search string, start and end times and search for all occurrences within that time frame. There is more to the script obviously, but I just pasted the relevant part.

Anyway thanks for your help.
# 4  
Old 10-05-2011
There may be easier ways to assemble a list of things than that. You can set $1,$2,$3 with set --, and control what $* prints with IFS:
$ set -- TERM_A TERM_B TERM_C # Set $1=TERM_A, $2=TERM_B, ...
$ IFS="|"
$ echo "($*)"
$ echo \($*\)
(TERM_A TERM_B TERM_C) # This happens because the shell splits on | now!  echo gets 3 args
$ IFS="$OLDIFS" # Set splitting back to normal!

---------- Post updated at 02:31 PM ---------- Previous update was at 02:26 PM ----------

Or, you could just put some of that stuff into the expression instead of grep:

egrep "= (${STRING})" ...

to make it more obvious what you're trying to do.
This User Gave Thanks to Corona688 For This Post:
# 5  
Old 10-05-2011
Thanks for the tip. I'm not quite sure how it makes it easier, as I still need my for loop to generate the search string (because i will not specify each individual hour to be searched for, just the start and end like starthr=18 and endhr=20 would search from 6pm till 8pm), but I guess it would make the code cleaner.

Anyway sadly it seems I spoke too soon. Although I don't get an error the egrep isn't working still.

+ grep TEST /var/tmp/TEST.log
+ egrep ''\''(2011-10-05 12:|2011-10-05 13)'\'''

it doesn't return any results because it is literally issuing that command as opposed to the
egrep '(2011-10-05 12:|2011-10-05 13)'

that I want.

This is what I updated my code to:
grep =${searchstr} $logpath/$logfile | egrep "${timestr}"

(Only this line was editted)

Clearly I am doing something wrong with the single quotes/brackets in the timestr variable. I can probably get around this by using egrep -e instead of the single quotes and brackets to form the command, however I'm interested to know what I am doing wrong.

Any ideas? Sorry if it's something stupid, as you can tell I'm not a scripter.

Last edited by remixed; 10-05-2011 at 07:06 PM..
# 6  
Old 10-05-2011
It helps because you can build a list and print it out in one whack without worrying about where to add | chars... If I knew what your shell was I might be able to tell you even easier ways.

Anyway, you've got ' quote chars in your search string. I did ask if the literal quotes in

were supposed to be there, because they have no special meaning to the shell when inside double-quotes. grep is hunting for literal 's.

The shell never evaluates what's inside variables for quote characters anyway, so adding them is doubly redundant.

---------- Post updated at 03:19 PM ---------- Previous update was at 03:15 PM ----------

I think you could replace those with


...again, pairing the brackets there to make it more obvious what you're actually doing.

---------- Post updated at 03:20 PM ---------- Previous update was at 03:19 PM ----------

Originally Posted by remixed
This is what I updated my code to:
grep =${searchstr} $logpath/$logfile | egrep "${timestr}"

(Only this line was editted)
You forgot the quotes, again. It's splitting on spaces, again.

grep "=${searchstr}" $logpath/$logfile | egrep "${timestr}"

This User Gave Thanks to Corona688 For This Post:
# 7  
Old 10-05-2011
Thanks, sounds like I have some reading to do. The searchstr variable that you mention doesn't have any whitespaces in it, but for the sake of being robust I will add it. (it's the timestr variable where it's all going wrong. Anyway I think I have enough food for thought there
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