Unix / Linux - Shell Relational Operators Example


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Bourne Shell supports the following relational operators that are specific to numeric values. These operators do not work for string values unless their value is numeric.

Assume variable a holds 10 and variable b holds 20 then −

Operator Description Example
-eq Checks if the value of two operands are equal or not; if yes, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -eq $b ] is not true.
-ne Checks if the value of two operands are equal or not; if values are not equal, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -ne $b ] is true.
-gt Checks if the value of left operand is greater than the value of right operand; if yes, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -gt $b ] is not true.
-lt Checks if the value of left operand is less than the value of right operand; if yes, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -lt $b ] is true.
-ge Checks if the value of left operand is greater than or equal to the value of right operand; if yes, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -ge $b ] is not true.
-le Checks if the value of left operand is less than or equal to the value of right operand; if yes, then the condition becomes true. [ $a -le $b ] is true.

It is very important to understand that all the conditional expressions should be placed inside square braces with spaces around them. For example, [ $a <= $b ] is correct whereas, [$a <= $b] is incorrect.

Example

Here is an example which uses all the relational operators −

#!/bin/sh

a=10
b=20

if [ $a -eq $b ]
then
   echo "$a -eq $b : a is equal to b"
else
   echo "$a -eq $b: a is not equal to b"
fi

if [ $a -ne $b ]
then
   echo "$a -ne $b: a is not equal to b"
else
   echo "$a -ne $b : a is equal to b"
fi

if [ $a -gt $b ]
then
   echo "$a -gt $b: a is greater than b"
else
   echo "$a -gt $b: a is not greater than b"
fi

if [ $a -lt $b ]
then
   echo "$a -lt $b: a is less than b"
else
   echo "$a -lt $b: a is not less than b"
fi

if [ $a -ge $b ]
then
   echo "$a -ge $b: a is greater or  equal to b"
else
   echo "$a -ge $b: a is not greater or equal to b"
fi

if [ $a -le $b ]
then
   echo "$a -le $b: a is less or  equal to b"
else
   echo "$a -le $b: a is not less or equal to b"
fi

The above script will generate the following result −

10 -eq 20: a is not equal to b
10 -ne 20: a is not equal to b
10 -gt 20: a is not greater than b
10 -lt 20: a is less than b
10 -ge 20: a is not greater or equal to b
10 -le 20: a is less or  equal to b

The following points need to be considered while working with relational operators −

  • There must be spaces between the operators and the expressions. For example, 2+2 is not correct; it should be written as 2 + 2.

  • if...then...else...fi statement is a decision-making statement which has been explained in the next chapter.


unix-basic-operators.htm

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