How to run a system command in Erlang?

I found this blog post very useful, as I needed a way of calling ejabberdctl script from Common Test case and checking the return code of the command. os:cmd/1 is not good enough, as it returns only standard output, not the code.

Piotr Gabryanczyk's Blog

Problem

I would like to be able to run ie. ls -al / from erlang and process the results using erlang. ie.

Files = cmd:run("ls -al /").

Solution

-module(cmd).
-export([run/1, run/2, test/0]).

run(Cmd) -> 
	run(Cmd, 5000).
	
run(Cmd, Timeout) ->
	Port = erlang:open_port({spawn, Cmd},[exit_status]),
	loop(Port,[], Timeout).
	
loop(Port, Data, Timeout) ->
	receive
		{Port, {data, NewData}} -> loop(Port, Data++NewData, Timeout);
		{Port, {exit_status, 0}} -> Data;
		{Port, {exit_status, S}} -> throw({commandfailed, S})
	after Timeout ->
		throw(timeout)
	end.

test() -> 
	shouldReturnCommandResult(),
	shouldThrowAfterTimeout(),
	shouldThrowIfCmdFailed(),
	{ok, "Tests PASSED"}.

shouldReturnCommandResult() ->
	"Hello\n" = run("echo Hello").

shouldThrowAfterTimeout()->
	timeout = (catch run("sleep 10", 20)).
	
shouldThrowIfCmdFailed()->
		{commandfailed, _} = (catch run("wrongcommand")),
		{commandfailed, _} = (catch run("ls nonexistingfile")).

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One Response to How to run a system command in Erlang?

  1. Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out some additional information.

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