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2005/03/08 dialog

© March 2005 Tony Lawrence

Dialog adds dialog boxes to shell scripts, providing such things as menus, input boxes and even calendars. This uses TABS and arrows to move about, and sometimes keyboard style h,j,k,l. The calendar returns Day/Month/Year, which could trip up American users.

Here's a simple calendar:

result=`dialog --stdout --title "CALENDAR" --calendar "Please choose a date..." 0 0`
echo $result

That will let you select a date from a calendar displayed on the screen.

A progress gauge:

files=`ls -l | wc -l`
while [ $files -gt $copied ]
  pct=$((100 * copied / $files))
  echo $pct
  copied=$((copied + 1))
  sleep 1
) | dialog --title "Files tested" --gauge "" 5 30 

That shows a gauge that changes as the script runs.

You can find more examples at https://www.fifi.org/doc/dialog/examples

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Tue Mar 8 03:10:30 2005: 116   bruceg

I have been creating some TUI for friends, to help me with my shell scripting, and I had come across dialog a few weeks ago. It really sped up some of my development for my TUI's, since before I found dialog, I was hand coding in colored menus, and it was a pain trying to line everything up, so it looked neat on the screen for the user. dialog is a great little TUI helper, and seems to be very capable.

I really wish all Linux distro's, especially Redhat, since Suse has a nice TUI with YAST, would have a TUI for all of the configuration programs. Although I mostly hand edit files, having a TUI can help when you are not very familiar with the config file for a particular program, or sometimes more that one file needs to be changed, like in the case of a hostname change or something similar.

Having a TUI for making system configuration changes other than a GUI, is real nice, especially if you are using a cell phone to dial in, or worse, a modem. Not to mention, if you have a system that does not have a lot of disk space, and X is not even installed, a TUI may be the only option for some system admin tasks.

It also helps to have Junior sysadmins get used to using text mode, and to stop reaching for the mouse :-)



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