Learn Bash the Hard Way (Learn Bash the Hard Way)
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Learn Bash the Hard Way

Master Bash Using The Only Method That Works

About the Book

This book takes you through knowledge essential to a mastery of bash. It is divided into four parts:

1) Core Bash

Core foundational concepts essential for understanding bash on the command line.

Areas covered:

  • globbing
  • variables
  • functions
  • pipes and redirects
  • scripts and startup

2) Bash Scripting


Gets your bash scripting skills up to scratch.


  • command substitution
  • tests
  • loops
  • exit codes

3) Tips and techniques


A primer on commonly-used techniques and features that are useful to know about.


  • the prompts
  • here docs
  • history
  • shortcuts

4) Advanced Bash

Building on the first three chapters, and introducing some more advanced features, this chapters takes your bash skills beyond the norm.

  • signals and traps
  • debugging
  • string manipulation
  • a real-world application 

About the Author

Ian Miell
Ian Miell

Ian Miell has over twenty years' experience in IT, writing, running, architecting, and maintaining software for some of the world's busiest systems.

He has written the book 'Docker in Practice' (published by Manning), 'Learn Bash the Hard Way' (published on Leanpub), as well as various training courses and videos.

He blogs about his experiences at https://zwischenzugs.com

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Reader Testimonials

James Tomasino
James Tomasino

VP, Regional Technology Director, CSM at GSW Worldwide

This book is fantastic. Follow the instructions and actually enter all the commands as they happen. Digging into seemingly simple questions really helped me grok everything. I think I'll give one more read to the section on traps, but otherwise I feel so much stronger in my BASH-FU. Do you work in the terminal? Do yourself a favor and read this.

Sayantan Mondal
Sayantan Mondal


Wow...great learning


Nice Read!

Nice read! #learnbashthehardway Good work @ianmiell

Magnus Glantz
Magnus Glantz

Solution Architect, Red Hat

Really nice read :)

Joe Poser @J_Poser
Joe Poser @J_Poser


I use it every day and I'm learning loads. Keep up the good work.

Stephen Keefauver
Stephen Keefauver

Senior Business Systems Analyst at Intuit

This book has been so valuable to me. I have used bash as needed for a couple years in bit of a haphazard, "just find things that work type way"(not something I am proud of but just being honest). This book provides a great framework for really understanding the topics covered. I do not come from a CS background in school so books like this are what makes it possible for me to do the work I love.

Ryan Hartmaier
Ryan Hartmaier

Essential material for anyone starting out in bash.

Learn Bash the Hard Way is a fantastic resource. Wish I had this when I started out. Essential material for anyone starting out in bash.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Learn Bash the Hard Way
    • Introduction
    • Structure
  • Part I - Core Bash
    • What is Bash?
    • Unpicking the Shell: Globbing and Quoting
    • Variables in Bash
    • Functions in Bash
    • Pipes and redirects
    • Scripts and Startups
  • Part II - Scripting Bash
    • Command Substitution and Evaluation
    • Exit Codes
    • Tests
    • Loops
    • The set Builtin
    • Process Substitution
    • Subshells
    • Internal Field Separator
  • Part III - Bash Features
    • Readline
    • Terminal Codes and Non-Standard Characters
    • The Prompt
    • Here Documents
    • History
    • Bash in Practice
  • Part IV - Advanced Bash
    • Job Control
    • Traps and Signals
    • Advanced Variables
    • String Manipulation
    • Debugging Bash Scripts
    • Autocomplete
    • Example Bash Script
    • Finished!

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