Nathan Kallman
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Quick Command Line Calculator in One Line of Code

Quick Command Line Calculator in One Line of Code

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Nathan Kallman
·Jan 19, 2021·

1 min read

I will admit I'm currently a bit of a complete terminal rat. I use Neovim daily inside of tmux. My tests are run from the terminal. I use git from the terminal. Deploys and releases are done in my terminal. I'll even open web pages with Mac's open command.

So I asked myself: why would I open a separate app to make quick calculations when I have a perfectly good terminal blinking right in front of me? I made a little command to "solve" my "problem" and now I've decided to inflict your eyes with my code. (or checkout the gist)

c() { echo "$@" | bc -l; }

The bc command on its own enters an interactive calculator mode. Which is nice but not what I wanted for quick arithmetic. So I use echo to pipe my calculation ("$@" refers to all the arguments given to this function) into bc and have the results calculated and printed with an immediate return to my normal terminal. For fun I also threw in the -l flag which gives me access to things like sine and cosine (but I cannot say I've really used them). Named it the shortest mnemonic I could think of, c for calculator, and I was done.

 
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