9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
not for beginners,
This review is from: Beginning Portable Shell Scripting: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice in Open Source) (Paperback)"Beginning Portable Shell Scripting" has a very clear mission - teach the reader how to write shell scripts that will work in all Bourne family shells. The book assumes you know UNIX already. While you don't need to know shell scripting already, it is helpful. The book is very intense if you are using it learn the scripting basics at the same time.
I like how the author starts by showing the interactive command type in by the user vs what is evaluated/run vs what is output. This was a good way to teach shell scripting quoting. I also like the emphasis on what happens in edge cases.
I think that non-portable code could be better flagged. It's easy to gloss over embedded in the text. Or find again. Two chapters really went into detail on portability. I guess I expected it to be flagged throughout.
Chapter two says you can skip it if you already know reg exps. A word of advice: don't. I recommend skimming it anyway the chapter contains valuable distinctions on globbing/shell expansion. I also liked chapter three's multiple attempts at a script showing the errors in each until getting to the desired behavior.
As an aside, there's about 80 pages of appendices and the about the technical reviewer page was both entertaining and written completely in UNIX shell script.
The book mainly loses points for not being aimed at beginners with a title containing the word "beginning."
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Initial post: Jan 31, 2009 2:32:45 PM PST
Peter Seebach says:
It's a fair cop. During the writing process, I understood this to be a technical book on portable shell scripting, with a couple of chapters of introductory material included for the benefit of people who had some familiarity but might not really be clear on the details of the shell. By the time I saw the word "beginning" on some cover proofs, it was a bit late to change that... Just miscommunication at some point during the project. The net result is that the title's a bit distracting. Sorry about that!
Thanks for the feedback.
Posted on Oct 4, 2009 6:52:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2009 1:12:15 PM PDT
Jay P. Vansanten says:
Very thoughtful, helpful and useful review. If you required that your review accompany any purchase of the book, could you raise the rating to 4?
Come to think of it, though, I've never see a programming book with "Portable" in the title that was aimed at beginner. And, that term does describe the central thrust of the book.
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