Command Blocks

In Hush, command blocks are delimited with curly braces:

{ echo Hello world! }

They are valid expressions, and will result in error or nil. Therefore, we can use this result to check whether the block was successfully executed:

let result = {
	touch /etc/config # we may not have permission for that directory!

if std.type(result) == "error" then
	std.print("Error: ", result)

They may even be combined with the try operator:

function run()
	{ mkdir /etc/config/ }?
	std.print("Success!") # This won't be executed if the command block fails.

let result = run()
if std.type(result) == "error" then
	std.print("Error: ", result)

As they are blocks, they may have multiple commands, which must be delimited by semicolons. This enables us to include line comments in between their arguments:

	find . # search in the current directory.
		-type f # only files.
		-iname '*.png'; # case insensitive match on name.

	ls ../some-other-dir/images; # list files from another directory.

	cat additional-files.txt # The semicolon in the last command is optional.

Pipelines and redirections

Pipelines and redirections use standard syntax:

	echo Hello world! | sed s/world/universe/g | tr '!' '.';
	echo overwrite file using stdout > file.txt;
	echo overwrite file using stderr 2> file.txt;
	echo append to file using stdout >> file.txt;
	echo stderr too 2>> file.txt;
	cat < file.txt; # redirect file to stdin
	cat << "here's an inline string"; # string to stdin
	rm file.txt 2>1; # redirect stderr to stdout. Opposed to Bash, we don't need an `&`

	# We may compose as many of those as we need:
	cat file.txt # Read a file.
			<< "Hello world!" # Concat it with data from stdin.
			2>> errors.txt # Save errors to file.
		| tee output.txt # Dump data to another file.
			2>> errors.txt # Save errors to file.
		| curl localhost:8080 -d @- # HTTP POST data to server.
			2>> errors.txt; # Save errors to file.

But there's an additional requirement for redirections: they may not precede arguments:

{ echo Hello 2>1 } # Ok.
{ echo 2>1 Hello } # Syntax error.


As in most shells, Hush provides variable substitution in commands. But opposed to traditional shells, variables don't undergo word splitting. As Hush has first class support for arrays, there's really no need to do automatic word splitting.

Variables can be used inside command blocks using dollar syntax:

let var = "hello world"
	echo $var; # hello world
	echo "$var"; # hello world
	echo ${var}s; # hello worlds
	echo "${var}s"; # hello worlds
	echo '$var'; # $var

Hush uses the following rules when doing variable substitution:

  • nil: converted to an empty argument. Note that this is different than skipping the argument.
  • bool, char, int, float, string: converted to string and passed as a single argument, regardless of containing spaces, asterisks, and whatnot.
  • array: each element will be converted to a single argument, using the other rules. If the array is empty, no argument is produced. This way, arrays can be used to programmatically build lists of command arguments.
  • dict, function, error: won't be converted, causing a panic instead.

Considering the file args.hsh:

let args = std.args() # Returns an array of command line arguments.

for arg in std.iter(args) do

The following script

let args = [ "1 2", 3, nil, 4.0 ]

{ hush args.hsh $args }

will output:

1 2



In order to provide ergonomic manipulation of the file system, most shells provide a mechanism named expansions. It allows the programmer to refer to multiple file names using a regex-like syntax.

Hush provides automatic expansion only for literal arguments. That means you won't have to worry if your variables contains characters that may be expanded.

let var = "*"
	echo *; # Will print all files/directories in the current directory.
	# The following will print just an asterisk.
	echo "*";
	echo $var;

Hush currently provides the following expansions:

  • %: matches zero or one character, except for the path separator.
  • *: matches zero or more characters, except for the path separator.
  • **: matches zero or more directories.
  • ~/: matches the $HOME directory, only when in the prefix of an argument.

Opposed to traditional shells, Hush will always expand relative paths prefixed with ./:

	touch test.txt; # Create a file
	echo *; # Will print "./test.txt"

You won't have to worry about flag injection from file names ever again.


By default, whenever a command fails in a block, the whole block will be interrupted. This behavior can be disabled on a per-command basis with the ? operator (not to be confused with the try operator outside of command blocks).

	echo Hello world!;

	# `false` is a command that always fails. As it's suffixed with `?`,
	# it won't cause the whole block to abort.
	false ?;

	echo "This will be printed";

	# If a command fails, and it makes no use of the `?` operator,
	# no further commands will be executed.

	echo "This will not be printed";

Command blocks will always result in an error whenever one or more of their commands fail. This is true even for commands that use the ? operator.

let result = { false?; }
std.assert(std.type(result) == "error")

An error will be produced for each command that fails. This error will contain a dict with two fields:

  • pos: a string describing the source position of the command.
  • status: the numeric exit status of the program. Always non-zero.

There are scenarios where more than one command may fail, such as when using pipelines or the ? operator. Whenever more than one command fails, the block will result in a generic error. This generic error will contain as context an array of the errors of each command that failed.

let result = { false?; false }
# command returned non-zero (@[ "status": 1, "pos": "<stdin> (line 1, column 15)" ])
# command returned non-zero (@[ "status": 1, "pos": "<stdin> (line 1, column 23)" ])

Environment variables

Commands may be prefixed by environment assignments, which will apply only for the given command.

	VAR=value COLOR=false command; # Set environment variables only for this command.

If you wish to set environment variables permanently, you may use the std.export function:

std.export("VAR", "value")
std.export("COLOR", "false")
	# The environment setting will now affect both commands.