Advanced bash scripting 2015

Welcome to the web page for the course "advanced bash scripting".

The lecture notes as well as a list of the material covered can be found at the end of the page. An abstract of the of the course can also be found further down. This course was the first installment of my sequence of courses on UNIX script writing. The subsequent course is the "Introduction to awk programming" course in August 2016.

Update: I taught the course a second time in November 2017, for which I also revised the course material.

Course structure

The course will take place from the 24th to the 28th August 2015 at Heidelberg University . We will meet in the Computer Room U012, which is in the basement of INF 350, Otto-Meyerhof-Zentrum. The course is structured as a full day course running from 9:30am till about 5pm each day (with a one hour lunch break in between).


The bash shell is the default shell in almost all major UNIX and LinuX distributions, which makes learning about the bash scripting language pretty much unavoidable if one is working on a UNIX-like operating system. On the other hand this also means that writing bash scripts is conceptually very simple — essentially like typing commands. When it comes to more involved tasks and more powerful scripts, however, some knowledge of the underlying operating system is certainly required. After all bash scripting is all about properly combining the programs available on the UNIX operating system in a clever way.

This idea structures the whole course:

In the first part we will revisit some basic concepts of a UNIX-like operating system and review the set of UNIX coreutils one needs for everyday scripting. Afterwards we will talk about the bash shell and its core language features, including

The final part will be concerned with the extraction of information (from files etc.) using so-called regular expressions and programs like awk, sed or grep.

Learning Targets

After the course you will be able to


This course assumes some familiarity with a UNIX-like operating system like GNU/Linux and the bash shell. I.e. you should be able to

Whilst it is not assumed that you have any knowledge of programming or any experience in bash scripting, it is, however, highly recommended that at least either is the case.


Course abstract
Lecture notes
Course files (including notes, resources and example files)
Solutions to the exercises (pdf with comments)
Solution script files

Links and references