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You can use ordinary printf to convert "%23%21%2fbin%2fbash" into "#!/bin/bash" with no external utilities, by using a little known printf feature -- the "%b" specifier converts shell escapes. Replace % with \x and printf will understand the urlencoded string.
BASH's printf has an extension to set a variable directly, too. So you get to convert urlencoded strings from garble to plaintext in one step with no externals and no backticks.
My version uses printf and command substitution ($()) instead of echo -e and xargs, this is a few less chars, but not real substantive difference.
Also supports lowercase hex letters and a backslash (\) will make it through unescaped
urldecode files in current directrory
Using PHP shell to URL decode a string.
If you can do better, submit your command here.
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