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parameter substitution "+ +"

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 PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:44 am   

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:30 am
Posts: 70
Hi, I came across the following function
function sman() { #usage: sman cmd pattern
  LESS="$LESS${2:+ +/$2}" man "$1"

It highlights keywords on the given command man page, for example
$ sman ls sort
will highlight all the occurrences of sort for the ls man page.
I don't understand the following though?
="$LESS${2:+ +/$2}"

My understanding of the above code is that if $2 is NOT empty, then
is used instead, but I don't understand why the space and plus are prefixed to $2?

Could somebody help me understand how this works?

 PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:20 am   

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:53 am
Posts: 560
less got a huge manpage, It is woth reading.
A very mighty command.

less can search for strings or regexes.
If you less a file and type /something the file is searched for the string "something" and each finding is highlighted.

And the + is a command within less.
You can use it to override options given in the $LESS environment variable or execute another less- command.

LESS="$LESS${2:+ +/$2}" reads like:

LESS=" we set the var LESS
$LESS to the value it already had. (Usually something like -M -I -R)
${2:+ concatenate with value of $2 IF set. (Yes, you read it correct.)
| +/ and add a blank and the + option, which triggers the search / command. The blank is needed for less syntax. (I prefixed the blank with | as this forum wouldn't display the blank otherwise.)
$2}" and finally is the search term we want to see highlighted.

Same like writing LESS="-M -I -R +/something" man ls something

man just searches the given manpage and decompresses it. For printing it to STDOUT it calls less

 PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:04 am   

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:30 am
Posts: 70
ok, thanks, never realised less could be used in so many ways.

the man less page states
Options are also taken from the environment variable "LESS".
when I run
$ env | grep LESS
LESSOPEN=|/usr/bin/ %s
there is no $LESS variable, so no predefined options exist.
Also, running the following:
man ls | less +/sort
is the same as
sman ls sort

Anyway, point is, I understand now, many thanks... once again.

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