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Found at: raymii.org:70/Better_cron_env_and_shell_control_with_the_SHELL_variale.txt

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---
Title       : 	Better Cron env and shell control with the SHELL variable
Author      : 	shtylman
Date        : 	08-03-2013
URL         : 	https://raymii.org/s/tutorials/Better_cron_env_and_shell_control_with_the_SHELL_variale.html
Format      : 	Markdown/HTML
---
> original article from:  \-
archived for importance.

I'm developing an open source monitoring app called Leaf Node Monitoring, for windows, linux & android. Go check it out!

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If you don't know what [cron][2] is this post is not for you.
Using the `SHELL` variable in cron is more powerful than you may realize.
## typical crontab
Most people will have this type of setup in their crontab.
    
    
    NODE_ENV=production
    OTHER_VAR=foo
    
    */10 * * * * /path/to/node /path/to/my/script.js
    
If you don't want to repeat `/path/to/node` (or your runtime) over and over, you
will add a `PATH` variable to go with the other variables.
But what happens if you want to use something like [nvm][3] or [rvm][4] or
[virtualenv][5], etc? It is not uncommon to have the above change to something
like the following
    
    
    */10 * * * * /path/to/my/launcher.sh
    */10 * * * * /path/to/my/launcher_another.sh
    
Now you have several shell scripts which invoke the required commands to setup
the environment and then run whatever program.
## enter SHELL
There is a little known special env variable for cron: `SHELL`. Most people know
this variable can be used to change the shell your scripts run run (i.e.
`SHELL=/bin/bash`), but it can actually run any file!
So lets say I use nvm and want to setup my environment. Instead of making custom
launchers for each command, I can simply do the following:
    
    
    SHELL=/path/to/setup/cron.bash
    
    */10 * * * * node $HOME/foo.js
    
Now lets look at what `cron.bash` might look like:
    
    
    #!/bin/bash
    set -e
    
    source /etc/environment
    source /etc/profile
    
    # setup any env variables you want here
    export NODE_ENV=production
    
    # I use node so I want to add node path stuff via npm
    # $HOME is available, but not many other env vars are by default
    source $HOME/nvm/nvm.sh
    
    # restore SHELL env var for cron
    SHELL=/bin/bash
    # execute the cron command in an actual shell
    exec /bin/bash --norc "$@"
    
For the most part it looks just like any other shell script. The important
magical parts are the last 4 lines. These lines put back the SHELL variable to
`/bin/bash` and then execute a bash shell to run the cronline command (the stuff
for the specific cronjob).
    
    
    SHELL=/full/path/to/cron.bash
    MAILTO=cron@example.com
    
    # For more information see the manual pages of crontab(5) and cron(8)
    #
    # m h  dom mon dow   command
    
    # dummy cron command to print the environment variables ever minute
    * * * * * env
    
    # node scripts can simply be run using `node` now
    * * * * * node /path/to/script/.js
    
Now our cron files have a consistent environment setup and we can simply run
whatever commands we need without further PATH tricks or nonsense.
Go forth and update your dirty crontabs!
_[\- home -][6]_
   [1]: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=7435ae6b8212
   [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cron
   [3]: https://github.com/creationix/nvm
   [4]: https://rvm.io/
   [5]: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/virtualenv
   [6]: http://shtylman.com/
---
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