Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 year in review, bonus

Last week, I shared a "top ten" list of my favorite blog posts from Open Source Software and Usability. As I reviewed my articles this year, I also saw a few others that I wanted to share as a kind of "bonus" list. These aren't about usability. Rather, they are exercises in Bash shell scripting that I found interesting.

My background with Linux started with Unix systems. I was a Unix systems administrator for several years before I introduced Linux at work. When I managed systems for a living, I learned to do a lot of cool things in shell scripts. And these days, sometimes I like to craft something new in a Bash script. Enjoy!

Reading RSS with Bash
A summary of an article I wrote for Linux Journal. The idea originated with an update to the FreeDOS website. Like many other project websites, we fetch our news from a separate news system, then parse it to display on the front page. Today, we do that every time someone loads the page. Effective, but inefficient. As I update the FreeDOS website, I wanted to automate the news feed to generate a static news "include" file, so I decided to do it in Bash.
Web comics using a Bash script
Another article I wrote for Linux Journal. I follow several web comics. Every morning, I used to open my browser and check out each comic's web site to read that day's comic. That method worked well when I read only a few web comics, but it became a pain to stay current when I followed more than about ten comics. I figured there had to be a better way, a simpler way for me to read all of my web comics at once. So I wrote a Bash script that automatically collects my web comics and puts them on a single page on a personal web server in my home. Now, I just open my web browser to my private web server, and read all my comics at once.
Solitaire in a Bash script
I wanted to write my own version of Klondike Solitaire as a Bash script. Sure, I could grab another shell script implementation of Solitaire called Shellitaire but I liked the challenge of writing my own. And I did. Or rather, I mostly did. I have run out of free time to work on it. So I'm sharing it here in case others want to build on it. I have implemented most of the game, except for the card selection.
March Madness in a Bash script
I don't really follow basketball, but I like to engage with others at my office who do. But I just don't know enough about the teams to make an informed decision on my own March Madness bracket. So a few years ago, I found another way: I wrote a little Bash script to do it for me. I wrote a similar version of the article for Linux Journal, and later compared the results. However, I have since discovered a major flaw in this Bash script which I've now fixed. Look for that article coming soon in Linux Journal.

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