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I work in an environment that has a lot of legacy shell script magic lying around. One thing used heavy from the command line are bash functions that get sourced from some file included from some file included from some file ... included in my .bash_profile. Is there a way to get the definition or even better the location of the definition of these functions without tracking them down through 5 levels of includes?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

To get the function definition:

type -a function_name
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Assuming you have a function named foo the commands below will get the location of the function's definition, that is it will get the name of the file in which the function is defined as well as the line number at which the function is defined within that file.

# Turn on extended shell debugging
shopt -s extdebug

# Dump the function's name, line number and fully qualified source file  
declare -F foo

# Turn off extended shell debugging
shopt -u extdebug

In my case the output of these commands is:

foo 32 /source/private/main/developer/
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Perfect. I just made this into a bash function in my bashrc file. whereisfunc() {shopt -s extdebug;declare -F $1;shopt -u extdebug} – Neil Feb 12 at 3:49

To see the definition of the function (as opposed to where it came from), use:

declare -f <functionname>
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I think this one is better than type -a because it doesn't print the annoy locale dependent first line~~ – yuyichao Mar 16 '12 at 1:50

bash -x will dump what bash is running as it starts up, which should let you trace it more easily. Don't forget to exit the newly-opened shell.

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another way, that I find even simpler lately:

  which <functionname>

(this will also show whether it's an alias or a script, but will not track down the source of an alias)

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I don't think which gives information about aliases on BSD or mac. Also, this question is about functions, and which does not give information about functions. – dbw Apr 8 '13 at 20:45
Thanks for that note. I see now that "which" only resolves functions in zsh, not bash. – Joshua Goldberg Apr 9 '13 at 1:57

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