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AWK: The Linux Administrators' Wisdom Kit

Nov 25, 2008, 14:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Emmett Dulaney)

"To put it the simplest way possible, AWK is a programming-language tool used to manipulate text. The language of the AWK utility resembles the shell-programming language in many areas, although AWK's syntax is very much its own. When first created, AWK was designed to work in the text-processing arena, and the language is based on executing a series of instructions whenever a pattern is matched in the input data. The utility scans each line of a file, looking for patterns that match those given on the command line. If a match is found, it takes the next programming step. If no match is found, it then proceeds to the next line.

"While the operations can get complex, the syntax for the command is always:

"awk '{pattern + action}' {filenames}

"where pattern represents what AWK is looking for in the data, and action is a series of commands executed when a match is found. Curly brackets ({}) are not always required around your program, but they are used to group a series of instructions based on a specific pattern."

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