sed & awk

Apr 19 2010

sed & awk (2nd Edition) by Dale Dougherty and Arnorld Robbins is one of those books that deserves it’s special place on the bookshelf of any developer, system administrator or Unix enthusiast.

Initially I have bought the book to enrich my knowledge on text/stream/input parsing and reporting, a field where before I have used Perl or other scripting languages to accomplish the task. The main reason I decided to make the switch is because in most cases I have to accomplish a specific parsing/reporting task just one time, where using Perl would have been an overhead.

Aside from the main topics of the books, I did find very useful the special chapter dedicated to regular expressions. Prior to reading the book I used only PCRE and always had a bad time when grep was not compiled with support for them. But not anymore, because as I said the book has an entire chapter on them describing the POSIX regular expression and the extended regular expression set.

As the rest of the book goes, it is easy to read and follow diminishing the time I needed to assimilate the content of it to two days.

Of course in those two days I have neglected the last chapter where the full potential of awk is unleashed, because to be frank I don’t think I’ll be in the situation to do such applications in these languages.

Altogether a great book, well written, with succinct examples that will kick-start your way of parsing text from the point you read it onward.

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