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on 17 March 2007
This is a book about solving problems with shell scripts, the style may be what you like, but I didn't like the style and gave up reading half way though and only skimmed the second half of the book.

You need to know the following and then decide if it's for you:

1) The book does not teach shell, you must know shell already.

2) The shell used in the book is POSIX portable, it does on the whole avoid using bash, ksh or zsh tricks, so your code will move from shell to shell and OS to OS mostly okay.

3) The author avoids using external commands where possible sticking to pure shell solutions where possible.

4) The style of the book is several recipes grouped into a chapter, with source code and explanations.

I didn't like the book because the code chunks were too long for a printed book and there wasn't enough discussion about why things worked and how they worked. Additionally there weren't enough recipes, I much prefer the O'Reilly "Cookbook" series books.

I also felt that I wouldn't choose shell to solve some of the problems, for example I would choose Perl to solve some of the problems. While shell can do some things internally, it isn't a full language like Perl or Python, and my style is to use shell to join together lots of other basic tools to get jobs done, not to write whole applications in shell.

This is not the book for me but it may be your style. YMMV.
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on 15 January 2010
I've been writing shell scripts for decades but needed to handle a really difficult csv file (embedded quotes, commas etc etc) which I found challenging. I found a solution on line in this book on the Amazon web site. It was so good I bought the whole thing printed out on dead trees. Great book for anyone who is pretty handy with shell scripts but needs a nudge towards creative solutions.
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