How To: Compress a Directory of Files into Individual Archives

I’ve got a stack of files all thrown together in the same directory, and I wanted them compressed – simple enough, eh? Only thing is I wanted each file compressed to its own archive, so I can see at a glance what’s there, and if for some reason an archive gets corrupted, it’s just one file lost and I can replace it instead of having to dick around repairing corrupted “blob” archives that contain the entire bunch of files. And I want to be able to specify all files with a given file extension to compress.

Although I wouldn’t be surprised if you could do this in 4 lines of Perl, I don’t know flippin’ Perl (yet), so I wrote a bash script to do the job.

Bash, as it turns out, is a fiddly, finicky beast in that you really have to think about what the command-line will see under different circumstances and enclose variables in inverted commas or not in very precise ways (see this article to understand what I mean). All that if / fi stuff too… very odd.

To use the script, copy and paste it into a text file (in my case I’ve called it, save it, make the file executable using chmod +x and move it to /usr/bin or something so it’s in your path using sudo mv ./ /usr/bin/ – then run it inside any directory you want to zip files to individual archives by calling it with nds (for example) to compress all the .nds (Nintendo DS roms) in a folder into individual archives. Or use this link ;)

Anyway, job done – suggestions? improvements? props? death-threats? Let me know below!

Oh, and cheers to James McDonald for his WP-Syntax hack to stop all the embedded code appearing on a single (incredibly long) line!