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This doesn't work in bash, but in zsh you can typeset -T to bind a scalar variable to an array. $PATH and $path behave this way by default.
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This version uses Pipes, but is easier for the common user to grasp... instead of using sed or some other more complicated method, it uses the tr command
The output of "echo $PATH" is hard to read, this is much easier. The parentheses ensure that the change to the input field separator (IFS) only happens the the sub shell and not affecting the current shell.
Removes trailing newline; colon becomes record separator and newline becomes field separator, only the first field is ever printed. Replaces empty entries with $PWD. Also prepend relative directories (like ".") with the current directory ($PWD). Can change PWD with env(1) to get tricky in (non-Bourne) scripts.
If you can do better, submit your command here.
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