SC2244 – ShellCheck Wiki

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Prefer explicit -n to check non-empty string (or use =/-ne to check boolean/integer).

Problematic code:

if [ "$1" ]
  echo "True"

Correct code:

# Check if $1 is empty or non-empty
if [ -n "$1" ]
  echo "True, $1 is a non-empty value"

# Check instead if $1 is true or false, as in Java
[ "$1" = "true" ]

# Check instead if $1 is non-zero or zero, as in C
[ "$1" -ne 0 ]

# Check instead if $1 is defined (even if just assigned the empty string) or undefined
[ "${1+x}" = "x" ]


[ "$var" ] is equivalent to [ -n "$var" ] and checks that a string is non-empty.

Users more familiar with other languages are often surprised to learn that [ "$var" ] is true when:

Adding the explicit -n helps clarify that this is a string comparison, and not related to any concept of boolean values or "truthiness" as it is in most languages.


If you are familiar with the semantics of [, you can ignore this stylistic suggestion with no ill effects.

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