I recently had my first experience with modifying a shell script, and it was interesting. Now, everyone runs into those one-off tasks from time to time. They may not exactly be difficult, but when it is unfamiliar… that can add an element of difficulty, all on its own.

Going through the familiar steps of researching the specific syntax for the relevant elements was nothing new. The piece I was missing was a practical way to test the changes I had made to the code. Being unfamiliar with shell scripting, I had no idea what tools I might need to use for checking syntax and logic. Most of the approaches I found online were a bit more involved than I cared for. Then I realized that I hadn’t checked for any VS Code extensions yet. It wasn’t long before I found shellcheck.

To say I was relieved is an understatement; within minutes I had the extension installed and I was correcting my previous corrections. To be fair, my testing was no more complicated than using some echo statements to check my logic, but this extension was a real timesaver. Not only did it address my immediate concerns (checking syntax and providing basic output), there was no additional learning curve. I didn’t need to spend time learning additional terminal commands that I likely wouldn’t use again, at least not any time soon.

While I can appreciate learning a new skill, sometimes we just need to take care of something and continue moving forward. All too often, seemingly small roadblocks will find a way to eat up our time, when all we need is the right plugin at the right time.