Bash Bash Parameter Expansion Default value substitution


Example

${parameter:-word}

If parameter is unset or null, the expansion of word is substituted. Otherwise, the value of parameter is substituted.

$ unset var
$ echo "${var:-XX}"     # Parameter is unset -> expansion XX occurs
XX
$ var=""                # Parameter is null -> expansion XX occurs
$ echo "${var:-XX}"
XX
$ var=23                # Parameter is not null -> original expansion occurs
$ echo "${var:-XX}"
23
${parameter:=word}

If parameter is unset or null, the expansion of word is assigned to parameter. The value of parameter is then substituted. Positional parameters and special parameters may not be assigned to in this way.

$ unset var
$ echo "${var:=XX}"     # Parameter is unset -> word is assigned to XX
XX
$ echo "$var"
XX
$ var=""                # Parameter is null -> word is assigned to XX
$ echo "${var:=XX}"
XX
$ echo "$var"
XX
$ var=23                # Parameter is not null -> no assignment occurs
$ echo "${var:=XX}"
23
$ echo "$var"
23