- Paperback: 434 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second edition (1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565922255
- ISBN-13: 978-1565922259
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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sed & awk Second Edition
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From the Publisher
sed & awk, one of the most popular books in O'Reilly & Associates' Nutshell series, describes two text processing programs that are mainstays of the UNIX programmer's toolbox. sed is a "stream editor" for editing streams of text that might be too large to edit as a single file, or that might be generated on the fly as part of a larger data processing step. The most common operation done with sed is substitution, replacing one block of text with another. awk is a complete programming language. Unlike many conventional languages, awk is "data driven" -- you specify what kind of data you are interested in and the operations to be performed when that data is found. awk does many things for you, including automatically opening and closing data files, reading records, breaking the records up into fields, and counting the records. While awk provides the features of most conventional programming languages, it also includes some unconventional features, such as extended regular expression matching and associative arrays. sed & awk describes both programs in detail and includes a chapter of example sed and awk scripts. This new edition covers features of sed and awk that are now mandated by the POSIX standard. This most notably affects awk, where POSIX standardized a new variable, CONVFMT, and new functions, toupper() and tolower(). The CONVFMT variable specifies the conversion format to use when converting numbers to strings (awk used to use OFMT for this purpose). The toupper() and tolower() functions each take a (presumably mixed case) string argument and return a new version of the string with all letters translated to the corresponding case. In addition, this edition covers GNU sed, newly available since the first edition. It also updates the first edition coverage of Bell Labs nawk and GNU awk (gawk), covers mawk, an additional freely available implementation of awk, and briefly discusses three commercial versions of awk, MKS awk, Thompson Automation awk (tawk), and Videosoft (VSAwk).
From the Back Cover
The book begins with an overview and a tutorial that demonstrate a progression in functionality from grep to sed to awk. sed and awk share a similar command-line syntax, accepting user instructions in the form of a script. Because all three programs use UNIX regular expressions, an entire chapter is devoted to understanding UNIX regular expression syntax. Next, the book describes how to write sed scripts. After getting started by writing a few simple scripts, you'll learn other basic commands that parallel manual editing actions, as well as advanced commands that introduce simple programming constructs. Among the advanced commands are those that manipulate the hold space, a set-aside temporary buffer. The second part of the book has been extensively revised to include POSIX awk as well as coverage of three freely available and three commercial versions of awk. The book introduces the primary features of the awk language and how to write simple scripts. You'll also learn: common programming constructs; how to use awk's built-in functions; how to write user-defined functions; debugging techniques for awk programs; how to develop an application that processes an index, demonstrating much of the power of awk; and FTP and contact information for obtaining various versions of awk. Also included is a miscellany of user-contributed scripts that demonstrate a wide range of sed and awk scripting styles and techniques.|
Top customer reviews
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It explains the tools using a unified framework approach which makes everything about them logical. It goes into their lineages and how under the stark difference in syntax, the two tools share a lot in terms of philosophy and underlying mechanics.
The way they demonstrate each argument through use cases the authors had faced previously and solved with either tool makes it really easy to understand the argument at an intuitive level even before experimenting with it.
But perhaps what I find pleasent the most about this book is the style of writing. You feel so close to the thinking process that produces it, yet you hardly feel any ego, unlike most technical publications today. I had hard time putting the book away and I was always keen on the time I set aside for reading it. Something I don't always experience with technical books. Perhaps it is that people were not allowed to publish unless they had a way with words before web 2.0 came along! (Just look at the photo attached of a hilarious footnote from the book).
And as a data scientist heavily involved in Natural Language Processing, I was using what I learned on the go with my daily tasks.
If you want to understand Unix and Unix like systems better, then this is definitely an important book to read and keep by your side.
The nice thing about "sed & awk" is that your copy can be 20 years old, and everything still works fine.
The last 1/2 or so is on awk and although it's also very well written and informative it's not quite as useful if you're already experienced with a high level language with excellent text processing facilities like Python or Perl. However, it's worth reading even if you keep thinking "I could do this in _____" because sometimes awk really is the right answer.
A more modern version would probably include a CD with bunch of lessons ideas to get one started.
You can either spend the rest of eternity with a text editor or get these guys, and learn a bit to instruct them to do totally boring but useful drudgery. And perhaps learn about regular expressions and pattern matching. And then do something interesting.
Don't worry, you will have do do it again, if for no other reason than the entity that controls the format of the data decided to change it, for no other reason than to annoy and confound you. But, since you have learned about pattern matching, a minor change will fix it, and you can go back to whatever.
The specific purpose this time was to avoid subscribing to a listing service for cable tv programming. Zap2it publishes the listings on most newspaper websites, and program called wget allows me to write these listings to a file. Then using sed to slice and dice allows me to read simply formatted listings, and eventually feed them to a recording system.