Hack 32. PS4 – Used by “set -x” to prefix tracing output

The PS4 shell variable defines the prompt that gets displayed, when you execute a shell script in debug mode as shown below.

Shell script and output WITHOUT PS4:

ramesh@dev-db ~> cat ps4.sh

set -x
echo "PS4 demo script"
ls -l /etc/ | wc -l
du -sh ~

ramesh@dev-db ~> ./ps4.sh
       ++ echo 'PS4 demo script'
PS4 demo script
++ ls -l /etc/
++ wc -l
243
++ du -sh /home/ramesh
48K     /home/ramesh

[Note: This displays the default "++" while tracing the output using set -x]

Shell script and output WITH PS4:

The PS4 defined below in the ps4.sh has the following two codes:

  • $0 – indicates the name of script
  • $LINENO – displays the current line number within the script
ramesh@dev-db ~> cat ps4.sh

export PS4='$0.$LINENO+ '
set -x
echo "PS4 demo script"
ls -l /etc/ | wc -l
du -sh ~

ramesh@dev-db ~> ./ps4.sh
../ps4.sh.3+ echo 'PS4 demo script'
PS4 demo script
../ps4.sh.4+ ls -l /etc/
../ps4.sh.4+ wc -l
243
../ps4.sh.5+ du -sh /home/ramesh
48K     /home/ramesh

[Note: This displays the modified "{script-name}.{line-number}+" while tracing the output using set -x]

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