Using curl POST with variables defined in bash script functions

You don’t need to pass the quotes enclosing the custom headers to curl. Also, your variables in the middle of the data argument should be quoted.

First, write a function that generates the post data of your script. This saves you from all sort of headaches concerning shell quoting and makes it easier to read an maintain the script than feeding the post data on curl’s invocation line as in your attempt:

  cat <<EOF
  "account": {
    "email": "$email",
    "screenName": "$screenName",
    "type": "$theType",
    "passwordSettings": {
      "password": "$password",
      "passwordConfirm": "$password"
  "firstName": "$firstName",
  "lastName": "$lastName",
  "middleName": "$middleName",
  "locale": "$locale",
  "registrationSiteId": "$registrationSiteId",
  "receiveEmail": "$receiveEmail",
  "dateOfBirth": "$dob",
  "mobileNumber": "$mobileNumber",
  "gender": "$gender",
  "fuelActivationDate": "$fuelActivationDate",
  "postalCode": "$postalCode",
  "country": "$country",
  "city": "$city",
  "state": "$state",
  "bio": "$bio",
  "jpFirstNameKana": "$jpFirstNameKana",
  "jpLastNameKana": "$jpLastNameKana",
  "height": "$height",
  "weight": "$weight",
  "distanceUnit": "MILES",
  "weightUnit": "POUNDS",
  "heightUnit": "FT/INCHES"

It is then easy to use that function in the invocation of curl:

curl -i \
-H "Accept: application/json" \
-H "Content-Type:application/json" \
-X POST --data "$(generate_post_data)" ""

This said, here are a few clarifications about shell quoting rules:

The double quotes in the -H arguments (as in -H "foo bar") tell bash to keep what’s inside as a single argument (even if it contains spaces).

The single quotes in the --data argument (as in --data 'foo bar') do the same, except they pass all text verbatim (including double quote characters and the dollar sign).

To insert a variable in the middle of a single quoted text, you have to end the single quote, then concatenate with the double quoted variable, and re-open the single quote to continue the text: 'foo bar'"$variable"'more foo'.

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