Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use regular expressions.' Now they have two problems.
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nice work, I Love bash scripting, looking forward to the rest of this series!
For number 4 though you say that the while read line format is the only way to read in a file line by line, however bash 4.x mapfile allows you to read in a file to an indexed array more efficiently, you can then run the for loop over the array. eg
mapfile ARRAY < file
There are also a number of options which allow you to control input
-s count - skip the first count lines
-n count - read in at most count lines
-c quanta - set a quanta for the -C option
-C command - run command every quanta lines passing the index of the array about to be assigned
-0 index - start assigning at array[index] instead of 0
-t - strip trailing newline
-u fd - read from file descriptor fd instead of stdin
excellent alternative to the while read loop in my opinion
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