The “complete” command is a built-in command in Unix-like shells, such as Bash, that enables argument autocompletion for shell commands. It allows you to customize the behavior of autocompletion for specific commands by defining completion rules.
When you use the “complete” command, you specify a command name and provide a set of completion rules for that command. These rules define how the shell should handle autocompletion when the command is being used.
The completion rules can include various options and patterns that determine the behavior of autocompletion. For example, you can specify the types of arguments to complete, the available options, or the sources of completion data. The rules can also define custom functions or scripts to generate completions dynamically based on specific conditions.
By using the “complete” command, you can enhance the interactive shell experience by providing intelligent autocompletion for specific commands. This saves time and effort by suggesting valid arguments, options, or filenames as you type, reducing the need for manual input.
The completion behavior defined using the “complete” command is typically specific to the current shell session. However, you can save these completions in shell configuration files (e.g., .bashrc) to make them available across different sessions.
The “complete” command is particularly useful when working with complex commands or commands that accept a wide range of arguments and options. It allows you to define specific completion behavior tailored to the requirements of each command, making it easier and more efficient to interact with the shell.
It’s important to note that the availability and behavior of argument autocompletion may vary depending on the specific shell version, configuration, and completion plugins or scripts installed.
complete Command Examples
1. Apply a function that performs autocompletion to a command:
# complete -F function command
2. Apply a command that performs autocompletion to another command:
# complete -C autocomplete_command command
3. Apply autocompletion without appending a space to the completed word:
# complete -o nospace -F function command
In summary, the “complete” command is a built-in command in Unix-like shells that enables argument autocompletion for shell commands. It allows you to define custom completion rules for specific commands, specifying how autocompletion should behave. By providing intelligent suggestions as you type, the “complete” command enhances the interactive shell experience, saving time and effort. It is particularly useful for complex commands or those with a wide range of arguments and options.