Parsing Bash in JavaScript in Chrome with Browserify

For a side project, I wanted to be able to use js-shell-parse to parse complex Bash commands in JavaScript, in a Chrome extension. (More on this craziness in a future post!)

The js-shell-parse library is targeted at node, and it makes frequent use of require and of various npm packages. Being a node noob, I hadn’t used Browserify before, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed: a tool to bundle complex dependency chains of node packages for the browser. Here are the steps to convert js-shell-parse into a single, compiled bundle:

# Clone the repo
git clone

# Install the various npm dependencies and browserify (you may need to use sudo)
npm install -g pegjs pegjs-override-action isarray array-map browserify

# Run the included build script
node build.js > js-shell-parse.js

# Create a very simple loader script called 'loader.js' that contains one line
echo "window.jsShellParse = require('./js-shell-parse');" > loader.js

# Run browserify on the loader, which will parse the AST and bundle all dependencies
browserify loader.js -o compiled-js-shell-parse.js

Finally, you can include the output in any website!

<script src="compiled-js-shell-parse.js"></script>

and try this in the console:

var structure = jsShellParse('echo "The date is: `date`" > output');
"[{"type":"command","command":{"type":"literal","value":"echo"},"args":[{"type":"concatenation","pieces":[{"type":"literal","value":"The date is: "},{"type":"command-substitution","commands":[{"type":"command","command":{"type":"literal","value":"date"},"args":[],"redirects":[],"env":{},"control":";","next":null}]}]}],"redirects":[{"type":"redirect-fd","fd":1,"op":">","filename":{"type":"literal","value":"output"}}],"env":{},"control":";","next":null}]"

If you’re playing with js-shell-parse, the tests are helpful to see what kinds of shell/bash commands it can parse. (Pretty much everything!)