This is a script that must send an email at each new article published on a specific website. Any suggestions or improvements to do?

SENDER_EMAIL="[email protected]"
TO_EMAIL="[email protected]"

while [ 1 ]; do

    LINK_ARTICLE=$(rsstail -i 1 -u $RSS_SITE -l -n 0 -1 | grep -oP "Link:+ \K.*")
    TITLE_ARTICLE=$(rsstail -i 1 -u $RSS_SITE -n 0 -1 | grep -oP "Title:+ \K.*")

    if [ "$LINK_ARTICLE" != "" ] && [ "$TITLE_ARTICLE" != "" ]; then
        echo "New article published on the site. TITLE: $TITLE_ARTICLE - LINK: $LINK_ARTICLE" | EMAIL="$SENDER_EMAIL"  mutt -s "Nuovo Articolo BDO" "$TO_EMAIL"
        echo "New article published on the site. TITLE: $TITLE_ARTICLE - LINK: $LINK_ARTICLE"


1 Answer 1


I see a number of things that may help you improve your code.

Use "shebang" line

The shebang is the line at the beginning of a shell script that tells which program to use. In this case, you probably want this:

#! /usr/bin/env bash

See this question for details.

Consider using cron instead of sleep

If this is something you want to run automatically, consider running it as a cron tab instead of using sleep within the script.

Include some comments

The program requires rsstail, mutt and sleep which is a requirement that should be documented in a comment.

Be cautious about handing variables to programs

The mutt program, like many Linux programs, has a -- option which specifies that no further options are on the command line. This prevents the contents of $TO_EMAIL in a line like the following from being misinterpreted as a command line option.


Combine strings

The echo is used twice with an identical string. An alternative approach is

TITLE="Nuovo Articolo BDO"
BODYTEXT="New article published on the site. TITLE: $TITLE_ARTICLE - LINK: $LINK_ARTICLE"

Avoid creating extraneous variables

Instead of creating SENDER_EMAIL, you could just specify EMAIL and then the reassignment of the latter variable before mutt is called would not be necessary.

Consider writing a portable script

By sticking closely with Posix and avoiding bashisms your code could run on many different kinds of systems, including recent versions of Ubuntu which don't use bash.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, thanks for your meticulously written answer. Can you please explain why you would consider cron job instead of sleep in this case? Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Jones
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ One of the principles used in Linux is that programs are designed to do just one thing well. Because cron is a standard Linux tool to automatically run software on a periodic basis, I would probably use it for this application rather than having an infinitely running script. \$\endgroup\$
    – Edward
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know about that. I think cron is just a bloat when I can do the same thing with while loop and sleep - using the same principle - use while loop to repeat stuff - use sleep to pause b/w execution. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Jones
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The odds are about 99.9% that your system is already running cron so I don't think it reasonably qualifies as bloat. In any case, the advice was merely to consider its use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Edward
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 17:49

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