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> } > % echo ${^a}$[i++]$[++j]${^x}....
> } > 
> } > where .... is some arbitary number of other substitutions?  Is it just that
> } > it now does everything from right to left instead of left to right?  Why?
> } 
> } No, it is left to right.  ${^a} is expanded first, then the remaining
> } part, $[i++]$[++j]${^x} is expanded separately, and the result is
> } combined with the expansion of ${^a}.  You can see it if you try
> } 
> } let i=0; echo $[i++]${^a}$[i++]
> } 
> } which gives
> } 
> } 0a1 0b1
> I'm still not comprehending this.
> Are you saying that all the variables are expanded first, left to right,
> and then all the resulting strings are combined?  Whereas before (2.6 and
> earlier) each variable would be expanded and combined with what followed,
> and then the process repeated for each new string?

OK, I tell you what subst.c does.  You have a string of the form


Suppose that prefix does not have anything to expand.  paramsubst is
called to expand this string, which expands ${^a}.  There are three

1. `a' was an empty array.  In that case the expansion is the empty list,
   and suffix is not evaluated (so even if there is a $[i++] in suffix, i
   will not change).

2. `a' had one element: paransubst replaces ${^a} with its value and
   returns and the calling routine, stringsubst, which continues parsing
   the suffix.  If that suffix contains some other parameter expansions,
   paramsubst will be called again.

3. `a' has more than one elements.  In that case stringsubst is called
   for suffix alone (which may call paramsubst again to expand something
   in suffix), and the result will be be a list.  This list is combined
   with the expansion of ${^a}.  If suffix expands to an empty list, the
   result will be empty, otherwise the result is the first element of `a'
   combined with the each element from the expansion of suffix, followed
   by the second element of `a' combined with list etc.  Note that suffix
   can only expand to an empty list as a result of an rc-expansion in
   suffix (that's because null-argument removal is only done in prefork
   after stringsubst).  With this, in ${^a}1${^^x} the expansion of
   1${^^x} gives two elements, 1x y, which is combined with `a'.  If you
   replace 1${^^x} with 1${^x}, it is expanded to 1x 1y instead of 1x y.

This guarantees left to right evaluation, everything is evaluated at most
once, and everything is evaluated once unless there is an rc-expansion of
an empty array which discards everything following that array.

The 2.6-beta16 and earlier behavior:

${^a} was expanded, and a list was created prepending prefix and
appending suffix for each array element.  The resulting list is parsed
again from the beginning.  For example:

a=('${~^a}' '${~^a}')


expands to

prefix${~^a}suffix prefix${~^a}suffix

and the expansion is restarted, the first element of this list is
expanded again, the result is

prefix${~^a}suffix prefix${~^a}suffix prefix${~^a}suffix

and the expansion is restarted...  For this infinite loop, the ~ or the
globsubst option was necessary.

What would be the preferred evaluation of ${^a}1${^^x}?


1. a1x ay b1x by  (current)

2. a1x y b1x y    (beta16 and older)

3. a1x b1x y      (just an other logical solution).

The current behaviour is the simplest to code solution, I think the other
two are not very hard to implement, but I'm not sure it is worth the
extra effort.


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