Pipelines are implemented with another reader operator.


In this particular example, we hit a problem with - which is also a reader operator, usually seen as (3 - 1).

We could escape this from the reader with \- however, when the arguments come to be expanded into string arguments for the external command, - is recognised as a function which has no string form suitable for an external command’s arguments.

As a result we want to force the use of the symbol with '-.

Alternatively, you could have used /dev/fd/0.

for (fn text) in '(("foo.txt" "bar.txt")
                   ("hello" "world")) {
  echo text > fn

fns := glob "*.txt"

ls -l fns

tar cf '- fns | gzip -c | tar tzvf '-

rm fns
$ idio simple-pipeline
-rw-rw-r--. 1 idf idf 6 Nov 14 14:33 bar.txt
-rw-rw-r--. 1 idf idf 6 Nov 14 14:33 foo.txt
-rw-rw-r-- idf/idf           6 2022-11-14 14:33 bar.txt
-rw-rw-r-- idf/idf           6 2022-11-14 14:33 foo.txt


Idio supports some meta-commands when running external commands. Meta-commands are prefixes to the pipeline. We’ll look at a couple here. Other meta-commands deal with managing the input and output of the pipeline which are covered in later examples.


To background a job use the bg-job prefix:

bg-job sleep 5

;; do some background processing ourselves...
libc/sleep 2

;; report on all extant jobs

;; display Idio's elapsed time
printf "t+%ds\n" SECONDS

;; twiddle thumbs

printf "t+%ds\n" SECONDS
$ idio bg-job

job      0: a?=#f: ((sleep 5))
           PID fl  status       cmd
  proc: 156308 !C  (running)    (sleep 5)
  flags: C - completed; !C - not completed; S - stopped
Started at Mon Nov 14 14:50:22 2022, 2s ago;

jobs displays some status information about the outstanding jobs. Each job is a pipeline of processes, albeit a single process in this example.


The job 0 is slightly disingenuous as it is the Process Group ID of the job, which is only set for an interactive shell.

You can validate that with something like:

$ idio
Idio> load "bg-job"

wait can be passed a list of jobs to wait for explicitly or, as in this case, all outstanding jobs.


To get a report on the real, user and system time used by a job use the time prefix.

This isn’t something you’d normally do in a script but it may be more convenient debug than extracting the information from the job’s data.

time sleep 5
printf "t+%ds\n" SECONDS
$ idio time
Real 5.012
User 0.004
Syst 0.008


A job’s timings are kept in the job’s structure. They are reported as part of the job notification mechanisms. For an interactive shell this is commonly just before the prompt is printed. In a script, the notification mechanism is not so regimented.

If the pipeline is the last expression in a script (and does not fail), as might have been the case here, then there is little chance for the notification mechanisms to fire before Idio shuts down.

Calling wait will usually cause the notification mechanisms to fire.

Last built at 2023-11-09T07:11:44Z+0000 from 77077af (dev) for Idio 0.3