Tidbits on software development, technology, and other geeky stuff.

Introducing jsh

Back in 2017, I released jBash, which is a JavaScript library that provides helpers and Bash-like syntax. The idea was to make writing scripts in JavaScript less verbose and approachable. I’ve used it for some side projects and we’ve used it at YNAB. I’ve been generally happy with it and enjoyed not having struggle with the syntax of Bash scripts as much.

Over time, I began to form some stronger opinions for changes I thought would be good for this library. In particular, while I enjoyed the syntax staying fairly close to Bash, I felt that some of it was a little too close and started to become a burden. Some examples:

Also, I found myself wanting some extras that have no Bash equivalent. Sure, you can install an npm package for most anything but I like the idea of having most everything I need for writing a typical script at my fingertips without having to drop down into the big unbridled world of the npm registry. Some examples:

New Library

Rather than doing a major version update to jBash, I decided to just create a new library, especially since I was able to acquire the jsh npm package name!

A few weeks ago, I released jsh as a new library. It’s similar in spirit to jBash but adds some of the aforementioned niceties like usage helpers, argument parsing and validation, and sound defaults for error handling. Oh yes, and it has a spiffy logo to boot:

jsh logo

Here is a simple script example that writes some text to a file and shows off some of these niceties:

#!/usr/bin/env npx jsh

usage(`\
Usage:
  ${$0} text target_file [--verbose]

Example:
  ${$0} "My text" ./test.txt --verbose

Writes some text to a file\
`);

const [text, target_file] = args.assertCount(2);

if (args.verbose) echo(`Writing text to file...`);

writeFile(target_file, text);

if (args.verbose) echo.green(`Done!`);

This was a fun library to build and I tried to build it in a modern way. It supports CommonJS and ESModules, and is built with TypeScript from the ground up so you’ll have access to rich typings.

If this sort of thing interests you, please check it out and Star my repo if you enjoy it.

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