The need for conditionals in shell scripts have the ability to make life easier, be it from just a quick script or setting up environment variables for logins.
In the example below taken from a login script we needed to verify if a particular directory exists and if so set enviroment variables in a particular fashion to later be added to the $PATH, if not then set them another way. This in particular (though slightly sanitized) is part of a larger script used to determine what OS the server is running Solaris or HPUX, the particular function of the server can be termined if a certain directory exists.
if [ -d /apphome/$LOGNAME/serv/prcs/$LOGNAME ]
This list gives the file handling tests available.
-r True if file exists and is readable
-w True if file exists and is writable
-x True if file exists and is executable
-f True if file exists and is a regular file
-d True if file exists and is a directory
-c True if file exists and is a character special file
-b True if file exists and is a block special file
-p True if file exists and is a named pipe (FIFO)
-u True if file exists and is a SETUID file
-g True if file exists and is a SETGID file
-k True if file exists and the sticky bit is set
-s True if file exists and has a size greater than zero
From here this rest is up to your creativity how to employ these checks, using standardized scripts across all hosts just makes life easier.
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