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#1 21 Jul 2010 14:55

From: UK
Registered: 29 Dec 2006
Posts: 1,129

Comparing a string to the "newline" character

I need to do a string comparison in a script I'm writing that will check to see if a variable contains only the newline character.

I'd like to do something like this, but it doesn't seem to recognise the "\n"

if [ "${string}" = "\n" ] ; then .... ; fi

I have been able to kludge it using

if ! echo "${string}" | grep "." ; then .... ; fi

but as grep is not a built-in command, adding it introduces a perceptible lag to the process, which is detrimental to the operation of the script.

Is it possible to do this with solely internal commands?

Last edited by bluesxman (21 Jul 2010 14:56)

cmd | *sh | ruby | chef


#2 20 Jul 2011 05:29

Registered: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 26

Re: Comparing a string to the "newline" character

Couple of ways. In bash, you can do

if [ "$string" = $'\n' ]
    echo String is a newline

The $'' construction is a bashism, so if you want to do it more portably, simply define a variable that contains a newline and use that where you need one:

if [ "$string" = "$newline" ] ...

That's a little more readable than the brute-force alternative

if [ "$string" = '
' ] ...


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