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Manipulate Loops and Conditional Statements with the Break Command

As a Linux user, you must be familiar with loops and conditional statements. The break command is one of the most important commands to master if you want to manipulate these structures efficiently.

What is the Linux Break Command?

The break command is used in the context of loops and conditional statements. It is used to exit a loop prematurely or skip to the next iteration. It also works with nested loops.

For example, consider the following for loop that prints the first 5 numbers:

for i in {1..10}; do
    if [ $i -eq 6 ]; then
        break
    fi
    echo $i
done

The break command, in this case, will exit the loop when i becomes 6. So, the output will be:

1
2
3
4
5

Use-Cases for Break Command

Breaking out of a loop based on a condition:

for i in {1..10}; do
    if [ $i -eq 6 ]; then
        break
    fi
    echo $i
done

Breaking out of a while loop:

counter=0
while [ $counter -lt 10 ]; do
    echo $counter
    counter=$((counter + 1))
    if [ $counter -eq 5 ]; then
        break
    fi
done

Breaking out of a loop when a command fails:

for file in /etc/*; do
    if ! [ -r $file ]; then
        echo "Can't read file: $file"
        break
    fi
    echo "File: $file"
done

Breaking out of a nested loop:

for i in {1..3}; do
    for j in {1..3}; do
        if [ $i -eq 2 ] && [ $j -eq 2 ]; then
            break 2
        fi
        echo "i: $i, j: $j"
    done
done

5 Tips for Using the Linux Break Command

  1. Always use break in the context of a loop or conditional statement.
  2. break only works within the current loop. If you want to break out of a nested loop, use the break N syntax, where N is the number of loops to break out of.
  3. Be careful when using break in scripts, as it can cause unintended consequences.
  4. Make sure to properly indent your code to make it easier to read and understand.
  5. Always test your code thoroughly before deploying it in a production environment.

Key Points

  • The break command is used to exit a loop prematurely or skip to the next iteration.
  • It works with both for and while loops, as well as nested loops.
  • break can be used in conjunction with conditions to exit a loop based on specific criteria.
  • Always be mindful of the context in which break is used and test your code thoroughly.

Recommended Topics to Read

Next, you can read about the continue command, which is similar to the break command but instead of exiting a loop, it skips to the next iteration. This command is also useful for manipulating loops and conditional statements.

Challenge

Try writing a script that loops through the numbers 1 to 10, and for each number, check if it’s even. If it’s even, print “Even number: $number”. If it’s odd, use the continue command to skip to the next iteration.

Good luck!

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