How to use tar - for regular humans

Tar is a powerful command-line tool. I was setting up some Jenkins job and wanted to create an artifact to use with another pipeline. I first needed to zip up a directory and then unzip the said tar file. Looking at tar command and needed flags, they look a bit intimidating; such as -xvf. what are those flags? I'm a big fan of long-from flags so here is how you tar a directory and how you unzip it.

zip it:

tar --gzip --create --file name.tar.gz --directory ./path/to/directory .

Short form:

tar -zcf name.tar.gz -C ./path/to/directory .

Now that you have a tar file, you can untar it by:

tar --extract --file name.tar.gz --directory ./path/to/directory

Short form:

tar -xf name.tar.gz -C ./path/to/directory

You need to make sure the directory exists when you are extracting it.

🤔 Here is a little secret. use man to understand command flags. Try man tar and see the explanation for each flag.