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sed & awk (1990)

by Dale Dougherty, Arnold Robbins (Author)

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701322,712 (3.72)None
sed & awk 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 edition covers features of sed and awk that are 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).… (more)
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I read this curious to see if I'd use either to replace Perl or Python in my workflow. SED I can definitely see using for quick one off edits. AWK, especially in light of the longer examples given later in this book, I don't see using. AWK is worth learning a bit about for its approach.

I used the 1997 second edition. Some of the examples are a bit dated. The prose is more readable than some by this publisher.
  encephalical | Jun 18, 2012 |
Sed and awk are Unix power tools. Actually Awk is more of a programming language. This book is a good tutorial on both tools. Apparently it is one of the most popular books on the subject. ( )
  IvanIdris | Dec 26, 2011 |
SED stands for "Stream Editor." I wish that I had discovered this tool years before I did, but had been discouraged by the daunting vocabulary of rigorous descriptions. SED was originally written for the UNIX operating system but has been ported to MSDOS by Eric S. Raymond. You can do fairly sophisticated extraction from or modification of text files with remarkably terse (if highly cryptic-looking) instructions. (Actually, for merely searching or extracting, the "Grep" tool is even better, but DOS versions that I have seen do not conform so well to the UNIX standard tool.)
This book is a patient exposition of the program's capabilities that takes the reader from the simplest examples.

The Awk language, which adds much to the editing powers of SED, has probably been largely superseded by Perl, which is much more powerful still. However, the Awk interpreter is small and compact, compared to modern Perl implementations which have become large and elaborate. Shell scripts in Linux call upon it frequently.

Regular expressions in Grep, SED, Awk, and Perl (respectively) differ in detail from one another. If I have any criticism of this book, it would be that it sometimes discusses SED and Awk together without pointing out once again these differences if a reader has forgotten them. This sometimes makes the book confusing as a reference.
2 vote Alogon | May 20, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dougherty, DaleAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robbins, ArnoldAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed

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This book is about a set of uncommonly named UNIX utilities, sed and awk.
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To write an awk script, you must become familiar with the rules of the game.
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