Using a variable name to create an array bash, unix


First I should perhaps explain what I want to do...

<ul><li>I have 'n' amounts of files with 'n' amount of lines. All I know is that the line count will be even.</li> <li>The user selects the files that they want. This is saved into an array called ${selected_sets[@]}.</li> <li>The program will print to screen a randomly selected 'odd numbered' line from a randomly selected file. </li> <li>Once the line has been printed, I don't want it printed again...</li> </ul>

Most of it is fine, but I am having trouble creating arrays based on the contents of ${selected_sets[@]}... I think I have got my syntax all wrong :)

for i in ${selected_sets[@]} do x=1 linecount=$(cat $desired_path/$i | wc -l) #get line count of every set while [ $x -le $linecount ] do ${i}[${#${i}[@]}]=$x x=$(($x+2)) # only insert odd numbers up to max limit of linecount done done

The problem is ${i}[${#${i}[@]}]=$x I know that I can use array[${#array[@]}]=$x but I don't know how to use a variable name.

Any ideas would be most welcome (I am really stumped)!!!


In general, this type is question is solved with eval. If you want a a variable named "foo" and have a variable bar="foo", you simply do:

eval $bar=5

Bash (or any sh) treats that as if you had typed


So you may just need to write:

eval ${i}[\${#${i}[@]}]=$x

with suitable escapes. (A useful technique is to replace 'eval' with 'echo', run the script and examine the output and make sure it looks like what you want to be evaluated.)


You can create named variables using the declare command

declare -a name=${#${i}[@]}

I'm just not sure how you would then reference those variables, I don't have time to investigate that now.

Using an array:

declare -a myArray for i in ${selected_sets[@]} do x=1 linecount=$(cat $desired_path/$i | wc -l) #get line count of every set while [ $x -le $linecount ] do $myArray[${#${i}[@]}]=$x let x=x+1 #This is a bit simpler! done done

Beware! I didn't test any of the above. HTH


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