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Expert Shell Scripting (Expert's Voice in Open Source) Paperback – January 6, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1430218418 ISBN-10: 143021841X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Open Source
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143021841X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430218418
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ron Peters spent more than ten years administering Linux and Unix systems while building a very large library of shell scripts. He realized that the world is full of how-to documents, but not many seem to read them, nor can many system administrators lay claim to being shell scripting experts. He apologizes that it took him so long to make his efforts known to the world. He is married with two children and very happy that he found the time to write this book.

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
I found this book very comprehensive and easy to understand.
Amazon Customer
This is essentially a cookbook of lesser-known recipes and fairly advanced algorithms, commands, and scripts that have proved useful to the author over time.
Zaine Ridling
I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in extending their scripting skills to ease management of a *nix production environment.
Neil G. Matthews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Pease on February 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is not intended to teach you how to program nor the basics of shell scripting. The book identifies it's target audience as intermediate to advanced shell coders.

Much of the book is presented in a narrative style, looking at a problem, proposing a solution and explaining how the various parts of that solution work. There are also some 'recipe' style sections, specifically Chapter 24 "Text-Processing One-Liners".

I have personally found the book interesting from the very first chapter, which addresses some debugging techniques I was not aware of. So far it is proving handy to have nearby when I'm hacking on a shell script.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zaine Ridling on March 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ron Peters does not explain many basic programming structures here, but that's okay, because the main purpose of this book is to combine some of the most unique tools, code snippets, and scripts that go beyond the level of basic scripts. This is essentially a cookbook of lesser-known recipes and fairly advanced algorithms, commands, and scripts that have proved useful to the author over time.

Peters demonstrates a few very useful complex command line commands, like those found on the Command-line-fu site. The scripts are tailored to be useful at multiple levels. Most times, however, there is little or no error-checking since that is not necessarily the point of a [specific] script. The reader must be prepared to make modifications to fit his local environment. The reason you want this book is that Peters goes into great detail about how and why the scripts were written in their present form, and he includes sound explanations of how to avoid certain problems. He notes that most shell scripting sources are heavy in obfuscation and light on clarity, therefore he is as explicit as possible in this book, and favored explaining too much rather than too little. Many chapters included can be read as shell scripts with extremely detailed commentary. I'm glad I bought it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Expert Shell Scripting helps bridge the gap between following a recipe and truly solving problems.

It's not a cookbook, and it doesn't teach basic programming structures. As such, it would probably frustrate beginners. Where this book shines is that it adds context and ties concepts together beautifully.

A full chapter on debugging, for example explores different approaches to troubleshooting, comparing and contrasting the various approaches, discussing where each approach might be appropriate, pointing out pitfalls and gotchas along the way. Another chapter deals with comparisons and tests, making sense of the intricacies and subtleties of comparing different types of things and the myriad of ways of doing it well, or doing it wrong. The book covers a wide range of topics, from command line switches and options, variable setting, date/time manipulation, text processing, and data redirection, scheduling, interaction, and automation.
The progression is swift, and the book ends with a section of gems that the author has spent years accumulating.

It is perfect for the programmer who has never written shell scripts (or just dabbled), since it quickly takes you beyond syntax and structures and bring you to the point where you can actually DO stuff in the shell. If you are an intermediate shell scripter it will probably fill in many gaps and catapult you to a higher level of competence.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil G. Matthews on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are responsible for supporting and building a fleet of *nix hosts and want to achieve better productivity and reliability or even if you have an interest in improving your scripting skills for other purposes, then this book is well worth a look. The 42 chapters cover scripting techniques along with complete solutions used in production environments that have been developed or enhanced by the author over many years. Example scripts are worked through in an easy to follow style so you can understand why code is written a particular way, thus enabling you to adapt examples to your specific purposes.

While the book is aimed at those with immediate to advanced shell coding experience, the first 10 chapters cover a range of basic but very useful scripting techniques, for example, in chapter 1, where we look at debugging techniques, a useful alert function is included. Special attention is paid to the typical traps for the unwary, such as variable visibility and how this differs between commonly used shells; some shells create a sub-shell while others don't when running the same code! The section on comparison testing syntax is also very useful, given how critical this is for scripts to function as intended! This is supported by an appendix showing which test switches work with the system test command and which work with the built in test command in bash and ksh. Chapter 9 has a good explanation of stdout and stderr file redirection and how to set up access to user specified file handles.

The middle section of 19 chapters deals with system interaction and advanced techniques, e.g. why cron's environment can result in different script behaviour than what you observe when testing your cron script in a user or root environment.
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