27 November 2008
It has been in the oven for some time, but now it is ready for release… Bill version 0.1 has just hit the lines!
In short, Bill is a solution for creating high-quality Bash code using reusable components. As GNU Bash is its only dependency, it can be run nearly everywhere—even on resource-limited systems!
Origins and motivation
Sometimes one wants to spit out some code to glue together a set of already available tools and quickly solve a problem by combining their strengths. That is okay, and using a shell script is probably the best solution, until annoyances arise:
- Portions of boilerplate code is repeated one script after another. Bill addresses this problem by providing a way of creating and reusing modules, and by providing a set of standard ones. It comes with batteries included.
- The script will eventually grow; and it will become a nightmare to debug and maintain. Bill includes tools for testing and documenting the code.
- Some ideas are complicated to achieve in shell code, and usually implementing them can be tricky. Bill already does the tricks for you, so you can focus on the actual code.
Thus, Bill was born with three main goals in mind: having as little dependencies as possible, easing development of complex applications, and serving as a playground for advanced usage of Bash. While I was making progress with the code, we had the ideas of running simple web applications coded in shell scripts and having unit tests and added them on the go.
Trying it out
If you use a
dpkg-based distribution (Ubuntu, Debian), just grab the
.deb package and install it by running
dpkg -i bill_0.1-1_all.deb.
Otherwise you can download the source tarball and unpack it with
tar -xfj bill-0.1.tar.bz2. You can run Bill without installing by
bill-0.1/scripts/ directory to your
Once you have your copy you are ready to read the tutorial. I will give you only an appetizer here:
$ bill (bill) echo "Hello, Bill!" Hello, Bill! (bill)
This is all for today, but expect more news related to Bill in the future. For the intrepid in you, you can check out the code repository at Gitorious, the code is under the GPL v2 license. I hope you enjoy this initial release as much as I did while preparing it.
Have a lot of fun…