Bash Debugging

Bash Debugging


4 min read

Here are some debugging techniques for Bash scripts:

  1. set -x: This turns on trace mode, which prints each command and its arguments as they are executed. It helps you see exactly what commands are running and with what parameters. You can turn it on like this:
set -x
  1. bash -x scriptname: You can run your Bash script with the -x flag to turn on trace mode while running that script. This is useful when you only want to debug a specific script.
bash -x
  1. Echo statements: Adding echo statements throughout your script to print out variables and intermediate values can help identify where things are going wrong.

  2. Using 'declare -p' to print variables: The declare -p command prints the current value of a variable along with how it is defined, showing you its type and attributes.

  3. Checking exit statuses: Checking the $? variable after commands to see if they exited with a non-zero status, indicating an error.

  4. Debuggers: Bash also has debuggers like bashdb and bdash which allow you to set breakpoints and step through your script line-by-line for more advanced debugging.

Running & Debugging

There are a few options for running and debugging Bash scripts:

  1. Locally on your machine: This is the simplest option. You can write your Bash script on your local machine and run/debug it there.

  2. Online Bash shells: There are a number of online Bash shells you can use to write and run Bash scripts, like, CodeSandbox,, etc. This can be useful if you want to quickly test something without setting up a local environment.

  3. Docker: You can create a Docker container with Bash installed and run your scripts inside that container. This allows you to isolate and reproduce your environment.

  4. Cloud environments: You can run Bash scripts on cloud platforms like AWS EC2 instances, Google Cloud Shell, Azure Cloud Shell, etc. These provide a full Linux environment where you can run your scripts.

  5. CI/CD pipelines: If your Bash scripts are part of a larger project, you can integrate running and testing them into your CI/CD pipeline using tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI, Travis CI, etc.

So in summary, you have many options - locally, online shells, Docker, cloud, and as part of your CI/CD. The best choice depends on your specific use case and requirements.

Executable Scripts

To make a Bash script executable, you need to:

  1. Give it execute permissions. You can do this with the chmod command:
chmod +x

This will add the 'x' execute bit to the file permissions.

  1. Make sure the shebang line is at the top of the script. The shebang tells the system what interpreter to use to execute the file. For Bash, use:

as the very first line.

  1. Now you can execute the script directly by typing:

The ./ at the beginning tells the system to use the script in the current directory.

So in summary, the 3 key things are:

  1. chmod +x

  2. Shebang line

  3. Execute using ./

Using Rix

You can debug Bash scripts with the help of AI tools like Rix in a few ways:

  1. Ask for debugging tips - You can simply ask Rix for general debugging techniques and tips for Bash scripts. Rix can provide information on things like echo statements, checking exit statuses, using set -x, and more.

  2. Ask for explanations - As you're debugging your script, if you come across an error or something you don't understand, you can ask Rix to explain it. Rix has knowledge of many Bash and programming concepts and may be able to provide an explanation.

  3. Get suggestions for fixes - If Rix understands the issue you're facing, it may be able to suggest possible fixes or ways to resolve the problem. Of course, Rix's suggestions would need to be checked and verified, but it can provide a starting point.

  4. Search for relevant information - You can use Rix's web search capabilities to search for information related to the specific issue you're debugging. Rix can filter results and point you to the most relevant websites, documentation, and Stack Overflow posts.

  5. Share code snippets - You can paste snippets of your script into the chat with Rix to get tips on how to improve or fix issues with that specific code. Rix may be able to identify syntax errors, recommend style changes, or suggest alternatives.

So in summary, while AI tools like Rix cannot fully debug your scripts for you, they can provide helpful information, explanations, suggestions, and search capabilities to aid you in the debugging process.

Disclaim: This article is generated using Rix and provided as is. We do not guarantee everything is accurate. Learn and prosper. ๐Ÿ––