In Bash scripting, the
if-else construct is a powerful tool for executing different commands based on specified conditions. One common question that frequently arises is whether the keyword
then is necessary after
else. Let’s dive into this hot topic and shed some light on the matter.
Understanding the Basics
When writing conditional statements in Bash, the structure is typically as follows:
if [ condition ]; then
# commands to execute when condition is true
# commands to execute when condition is false
then keyword is used to specify the commands to be executed if the
if condition evaluates to true. The
else keyword is followed by the commands to be executed if the
if condition evaluates to false.
So, Do You Need Then After Else?
The answer is no. In Bash scripting, the keyword
then is not required after
else. While it is a common practice to use
then for readability and maintainability, omitting it after
else is perfectly valid and the script will execute without any issues.
As someone who has been writing Bash scripts for various automation tasks, I have found that the use of
else can enhance the readability of the code. It provides a clear visual indication of the branching logic. However, in scenarios where brevity is a primary concern, omitting
else can lead to more concise and compact code.
While it’s acceptable to omit
else, it’s essential to maintain consistency within your scripts. Consistent coding style and practices contribute to the overall maintainability and understandability of the codebase. Therefore, whether you choose to include or exclude
else, it’s crucial to follow a standard approach throughout your Bash scripts.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to include the
then keyword after
else in Bash scripting comes down to personal preference and the specific requirements of the script. As with many programming conventions, there is no absolute right or wrong answer, but rather a matter of what best suits your coding style and the readability of your scripts.