This version is out of date, covering development from v9.0.0 to v9.3.0. It is maintained here only for inbound reference links from elsewhere. It is no longer actively updated.

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 Function   [other Function type actions]

 Item   [operators of similar scope]

 Data manipulation   [other Data manipulation operators]



The operator, runCommand(), lets rules and actions use the command line. Where is the working directory location assumed for executing scripts?


passes command to the OS's Unix shell. The new process receives input, if any, as its standard input; the process's standard output is returned as the result of calling runCommand. Using just command on its own is akin to using the back-tick action syntax. The above syntax, in one-line command line usage, can also be thought of as:

runCommand(command, stdin)

Understanding the latter can help avoid trying to echo data into a command within the 'command' string. See the 'quotify' example further below.

For example, if a note called "Jane Doe" is dropped on a container with this OnAdd action:

$MyResult = runCommand("sendmail -f "+$Email+" "+$Email(parent), "Subject:"+$Name+"\nHello\n.") 

This assumes both dropped and container notes have a valid email address in Email. If so, Jane Doe will get an email with subject line "Jane Doe" and body text "Hello"; the email will be from the dropped note's $Email address and to the container's $Email address. In the above example:

command: sendmail - f' 

input (i.e. stdin): "Subject: Jane Doe\nHello\n." 

User attribute 'MyResult' will receive any message back from standard output.

From v4.6, this operator does not require a left-side to the expression where the result of the command line is not needed by Tinderbox. Thus the same example as above can run as:

runCommand("sendmail -f "+$Email+" "+$Email(parent), "Subject:"+$Name+"\nHello\n.") 

Bear in mind that in this latter case there is no way of knowing if the command executed successfully.

To use external commands like above you may need to check the encoding of the strings you extract from your TBX attributes. Do not forget to allow for characters like spaces/quotes/apostrophes in attribute values; these will invariably need escaping for safe use in a command line using operators like urlEncode():

$MyResult=runCommand("/usr/bin/curl -d 'status="+urlEncode($Name)+"' -u myusername:mypassword"); 

In the above, if the value of $Name were "Mark's project", the use of urlEncode() will ensure the string passed to the command line is actually "Mark%27s%20project".

exportedString() can also help with ensuring the necessary encoding, allowing a template to be used to help with formatting the string passed into the command.

Exactly where you do/do not need to encode attribute values will depend on the syntax of the particular operation you are performing.

To help get around issues of quoting, a note's text (or other string attribute) can be used for either or both arguments. Consider a note called 'quotify' holding this command line:

sed 's:"\([^"]*\)":“\1”:g' 

A stamp might then hold this code:

$Text = runCommand($Text(quotify),$Text); 

This effectively adds a menu item to the Stamps to change ordinary double quotes to their 'smart form', allowing the process to be run once, on demand, avoiding repeat use every agent cycle as would happen if using a rule or agent action.

Setting the working directory


If the optional directory is specified as a POSIX path, it sets the working directory in which command is executed. Otherwise, by default, the working directory is the user's home folder (i.e. /users/[shortusername] or in short form ~).

Dealing with inline quote characters

Because input arguments are parsed for regular expressions, it may be possible to use the '\dnn' form described here to work around the lack of escaping from single double quotes within strings.

A Tinderbox Reference File : Actions & Rules : Operators : Full Operator List : runCommand(commandLine[,inputs,directory])