Be productive using bash scripts on Windows! - Part 2

Bash scripting comes in handy when you have some repetitive routines, like obtaining a token when you want to test an Authorization header required API!

WARNING: Copying sensitive data like production environment access tokens to the clipboard using automated tools is a risky thing. Consider checking the clipboard tool source code to make sure it does what it is meant to do. Also, remember to use this tool in the development environment only.

In the previous post we had a script that gets username and password and automatically obtains an access_token and writes it to the system’s clipboard. But how it works?

echo 'Fetching a new token. Please wait...'


    "password": "'"$PSWD"'"

curl -s --location --request POST 'http://<your-identity-server-url>/api/v1/account/token' --header 'Content-Type: application/json' --data-raw "$REQUEST_BODY" | jq -j .result.access_token | awk '{print "Bearer "$1}' | clipboard

echo 'A new token is copied to the Clipboard!'

Let’s start with the first line. The #!/bin/sh is a symbolic link to sh (or bash on Debian linux distributions) and specifies that this file is a shell script. You can also use #!/bin/bash. There are some small differences and you can read more about it here: What is the differences between #!/bin/sh and #!/bin/bash?

The second line simply prints the message using echo command.

In lines 4 and 5, it defines two variables and initializes them with two parameters we pass through as $1 and $2. So when we run ./ foo bar the $1 is foo and the $2 is bar. Easy, right?

Using variables in the previous step, in line 7, it creates a new variable REQUEST_BODY which contains a JSON string containing the passed email and password. But notice to the "'". It’s because we want to make JSON surround passed variables in double-quotations.

And finally, the actual thing happens at line 12. curl is a famous cross-platform tool to make HTTP calls using the command line. It actually does a lot more, but here, we simply want to make an HTTP POST request. The -s makes a silent request. The --location makes it follow the HTTP 3XX redirects but it won’t send the credentials to the redirected location for security reasons. You can read more about it on the --location man page. --request POST makes a HTTP POST request to the given URL and --header 'Content-Type: application/json' sets the Content-Type header value. And finally, the --data-raw sends the specified data as a request body.

You can call the first part of the command to see the output. Remember to replace the <...> placeholders with actual values:

curl -s --location --request POST 'http://<your-identity-server-url>/api/v1/account/token' --header 'Content-Type: application/json' --data-raw '{"email":"<username>","password": "<password>"}" 

Let’s say the output will be something like this:

    "result": {
        "access_token": "<generated token>",
        "expires_in": <a number>

But all we want is the access_token value. So we use the jq tool to get it! jq can provide filtering on JSON data. It gets data from standard input and writes the filtered result into standard output. So piping jq -j .result.access_token to the previous command will filter the curl JSON response to just the access_token value. the -j option (or --join-output) in the jq command will not append a new line to the jq result.

And now the awk command. It’s actually a scripting language mostly used for pattern scanning and processing. Piping the access_token value to awk '{print "Bearer "$1}' will result in an output like Bearer <generated token>. The print command writes the specified string literal to the standard output. The "Bearer " is a constant literal concatinated to to the $1 which is the string value obtained from execution of the previous jq command.

And finally, clipboard part. Clipboard is a NodeJs based tool. It simply reads the standard input that is written by the awk command and writes it to the clipboard memory. So all you have to do is just press one of the most useful shortcut key combinations of all time, the Ctrl+V!

I hope you find this blog post helpful. Have a nice day!

Jalal My name is Jalal Amini Robati. I'm a software engineer at Alibaba Travels Co. When not working, I do hiking, cycling or spending time with friends.