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Unix Shells by Example (with CD-ROM) [Paperback]

Ellie Quigley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 9 July 1999 --  
There is a newer edition of this item:
Unix Shells by Example Unix Shells by Example 4.8 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

9 July 1999 0130212229 978-0130212221 2

This is the second edition of Quigley's best-selling book. This new second edition includes more classroom-proven examples. You'll master creating, running, and debugging shell scripts; using Grep, Egrep and Fgrep; working with Sed, and much more. There are hands-on exercises for every topic, an appendix with detailed syntax listings, examples of many useful UNIX utilities, comparison charts, and more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 654 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (9 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130212229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130212221
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 18.8 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,467,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

The second edition of UNIX Shells by Examples shows off basic commands and utilities in the three most popular UNIX shells--C, Bourne, and Korn--with side-by-side examples. The new edition of this book is sure to be a worthy reference for UNIX programmers for getting around their favorite shell.

The best thing in this new edition is that the author presents short, effective examples to using basic commands and utilities for each of the three major UNIX shells. This comparative approach means that you can use this book on different flavours of UNIX and even migrate scripts between different shells. For each shell, the author provides fundamentals, such as accessing profiles, command-line histories and shell programming. "Lab sections" let you develop your skills with short, hands-on exercises for each shell. As in the earlier edition, the author's short examples show you how to perform basic tasks quickly with common switches and options.

Other sections here cover three major UNIX utilities: grep (for searching), sed (for editing), and awk (for scripting and reporting). (The reference and tutorial on AWK programming is a notable feature here. There is also good coverage of regular expressions.)

Instead of hunting down information in countless man pages, this book will save you many valuable minutes everyday with its efficient format and comparative approach. This is a truly useful book that the beginning and intermediate UNIX user can turn to everyday. --Richard Dragan, amazon.com

Topics covered: C, Bourne, and Korn UNIX shells; grep, sed and awk utilities; regular expressions and shell programming.

From the Publisher

Table of contents

(NOTE: Contains hands-on exercises for every topic, an appendix with detailed syntax listings, examples of many useful UNIX utilities, comparison charts, and much more.)

1. Introduction to UNIX Shells.

Definition and Function. System Startup and the Login Shell. Processes and the Shell. The Environment and Inheritance. Executing Commands From Scripts.

2. The UNIX Tool Box.

Regular Expressions. Combining Regular Expression Metacharacters.

3. The Grep Family.

The Grep Command. Grep Examples With Regular Expressions. Grep With Pipes. Grep With Options. Egrep (Extended Grep). Fixed Grep or Fast Grep.

4. The Streamlined Editor.

What Is Sed? How Does Sed Work? Addressing. Commands and Options. Error Messages and Exit Status. Sed Examples. Sed Scripting.

5. The Awk Utility: Awk As a UNIX Tool.

What Is Awk? Awk's Format. Formatting Output. Awk Commands From Within a File. Records and Fields. Patterns and Actions. Regular Expressions. Awk Commands in a Script File. Review.

6. The Awk Utility: Awk Programming Constructs.

Comparison Expressions. Review.

7. The Awk Utility: Awk Programming.

Variables. Redirection and Pipes. Pipes. Closing Files and Pipes. Review. Conditional Statements. Loops. Program Control Statements. Arrays. Awk Built-in Functions. Built-In Arithmetic Functions. User-Defined Functions (nawk). Review. Odds and Ends. Review.

8. Interactive Bourne Shell.

Start-Up. Programming With the Bourne Shell.

9. The C Shell.

The Interactive C Shell. Programming With the C Shell.

10. The Korn Shell.

The Interactive Korn Shell. Programming With the Korn Shell.

Appendix A: Useful UNIX Utilities for Shell Programmers. Appendix B: Comparison of the Three Shells. Appendix C: Steps for Quoting Correctly. Index.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best buy for unix shell programming 24 April 2002
By A Customer
This is one book you'll never regret you bought, rich and comprehensive is the word, little knowledge of shell programming is assumed, well laid examples and easy to follow. Bet you could start shelling in days, but you need to go over and over so it sticks. Serves as a good reference book aswell as it adequately covers most shell languages as well as sed and awk.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb alternative to a UNIX guru friend 8 Feb 1999
By A Customer
I will shortly be placing an order. This is the second time that I am purchasing this book as my first one went "missing" at work. The best way to learn UNIX is by trying out examples and solving small problems and this book provides you with both!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful book for the intermediate scripter. 22 Dec 1999
By A Customer
The book obviously gives lots of examples but the bit I liked was that each line of each example is explained. I didn't give it 5 stars because some of the examples are repeated.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jam packed with knowledge 22 Dec 2005
Please note that this book is softback, not hardback as noted by Amazon. However, this should not put you off this book. Full of useful examples and explanations of the most used shell commands. Very useful for a tutorial and a reference.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Unix Shell book I've ever read! 26 Dec 2004
By Elizabeth Krumbach - Published on Amazon.com
If want to learn about shells and you learn by example, like I do, this book is essential.

The first 6 chapters (nearly 200 pages) goes over the basics of all shells; what they are, what they do, what programs are most used to manipulate data in them. There are whole chapters devoted to grep, sed and awk, and the author doesn't skimp on details. You will be a virtual grep/sed/awk guru by the time you learn everything in these chapters.

Chapters 7-15 introduce and get you into scripting of each major shell: Bourne shell, C and TC Shells, Korn shell, and Bash (bash is the standard shell in most linux distributions). It then spends a chapter on general debugging shell scripting problems.

The last chapters touch upon system administrating via the shell (rather than using gui tools). Again taught by example so it's very clear to the reader.

I learned more about bash (my shell of choice) from this guide than any other that I've read, and not for lack of trying, I've read several bash guides. I was happy to see that examples given were explained line-by-line so you don't lose track of what is happening in each example. I was delighted by the useful appendices covering useful commands and giving side by side shell comparisons.

This is my favorite shell book to date.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning by example 17 Nov 2000
By Ww Leenen - Published on Amazon.com
The 'Unix Shells By Example' is a well-known book in the field of shellscripting. It has about 640 pages with a CD-ROM included. The book is well edited, with good white-spacing and clarity in layout. Having taught the unix shells for over 15 years, the author really knows her stuff, and the text is factual and to the point.The index seems complete and one doesn't have a difficulty in finding the right info one is looking for. These properties should be normal for books, but computer books seem often an exception.
The chapters deal about the central unix-commands for scripting (Grep, AWK,SED) and the big three shells (korn, bourne and C-shell). The author explains the subject in great detail by showing examplescripts. First you're given the data or text to be edited, then the script or commandlines and finally a lenghty line-by-line explanation of the scriptsyntax. The subjects of the scripts range from explaining the basic unix-commands to complex intertwining regular expressions, functions, obscure nawk options etc. The author also touches the subject of shell-history, making comparisons of the three shells, giving 'lab-exercises' and some unix background about commandtypes,login and inheritance. The apparent subject that is missing in this book is the Bash shell, the preferred shell in the Linux community. However, a seperate book on this subject is available (Linux Shells By Example). As with all books that have an extensive coverage of the subject, this book too can be overwhelming for the absolute beginners in shellscripting. It takes some time before one writes sytax like:
nawk -F: 'BEGIN{printf("What vendor to check?");\
getline ven <"/dev/tty"};$1 ~ ven\
{print"Found" ven "on record no" NR}' vendor
Instead of searching the pages for the basics, beginners should consider buying an entrylevel book. Conclusion: For the intermediate scripter who visits shellsites like shelldorado and lurks newsgroups in search of advanced programming constructs to steal this book is a great find. You won't be left with a feeling that you'll outgrow this book. For newcomers in scripting this should however not be the first book to buy, they're better of with titles like "learning shellscripting in 24 hours". But once through these 24 hours, this book can only be warmly recommended.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent single volume coverage of the shell options... 7 Nov 2004
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
(This is a review of the 4th edition)

As I start playing around more with Linux, I'd like to get into some shell programming. After reviewing Unix Shells By Example (4th Edition) by Ellie Quigley (Prentice-Hall), I think I've found the book I need to get started.

Chapter List: Introduction to UNIX/Linux Shells; Shell Programming QuickStart; Regular Expressions and Pattern Matching; The grep Family; sed, The Streamlined Editor; The awk Utility; The Interactive Bourne Shell; Programming The Bourne Shell; The Interactive C And TC Shells; Programming The C And TC Shells; The Interactive Korn Shell; Programming The Korn Shell; The Interactive Bash Shell; Programming The Bash Shell; Debugging Shell Scripts; The System Administrator And The Shell; Useful UNIX/Linux Utilities For Shell Programmers; Comparison Of The Shells; Index

I know that there are a number of different shell scripting platforms, but I really don't know enough to understand what is different between them. In a single book, Quigley covers all the options so I can start to make some decisions about what direction I'd like to go in. And regardless of whatever choice that might be, she covers all the different platforms in equal depth so I don't have to go out and buy another book to get started. Each chapter is filled with a number of examples, immediately followed by an explanation of how the example works. So not only do you have the benefit of reference material on how something like the grep utility works, but you also have the benefit of seeing working examples in order to translate theory into practical knowledge. Her style of writing is clear and concise, and I really think that with a little time on my part, this book will take me well down the road to where I want to be.

An excellent choice if you're looking to get into command line scripting of your UNIX or Linux systems...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginngers as well as advanced users 30 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have been working with shells since about 5 years, and besides the "man" pages, this book has been the only one I ever used when writing shell scripts.
I rarely comment on books, but I really felt this one needs my appreciation.
The highlights of this book in my opinion are:
- a large and very well index--it really helps you finding your answer quickly
- very good introduction to shells and environments
- very good introduction to regular expressions
- very good introductions to the very important utilities grep, sed, and awk
- detailed sections with many examples for interactive usage of shells as well as programming shell scripts
For many people the sections on the c shell, korn shell and TC shell may seem unnecessary, since (I assume) the majority is using the bash shell. However, some things in those sections apply to the bash shell as well, and besides that one never knows which shell one has to work with one day--so by having it all in one book, you should be set.
Last but not least I would like to add that there is no need for reading this book from start to finish, you can just jumpt right into any section, as I have always done ;)
Get this book if you want a great all-round book on shells, and should you still get stuck, type "man ..."
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly Overrated. Full of Errors and Confusing. 2 Oct 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book was a brilliant concept with a horrible execution. It is filled with typographical and substantive errors. In the first chapter alone (I have the 3rd edition) there are examples that are simply wrong (chsh command and /etc/shell[s] file on page 3), incomprehensible (Figure 1.8 on page 18), incorrectly marked (section 1.4.4 on page 15), incomplete (Example 1.6 on page 16-17), or confusingly repetitive (explanation of pipes on page 19). Then the book suddenly presents a script written for 3 different shells, using a bunch of commands that are only vaguely explained. These explanations and descriptions of the scripts do not always match the source code, which is also different in the book and on the CD. And to top it all off the supplied source code on the CD is numbered incorrectly! For example the shell scripts for chapter 11 are located in the chapter 13 directory on the CD!
The errors continue. In chapter 2 on page 32 the regular expression examples contain several typos that made a difficult subject almost impossible to understand. The chapters on shell programming alternate from being incomprehensible to superficial. The author can not seem to decide if the book is a reference, a book of examples, or a book to teach and explain shell scripting. In trying to write a book that is simultaneously all three she winds up achieving none of these adequately. The index is lousy, and often incorrect. I had to look to other books and sources to straighten myself out. I strongly recommend that users of this book buy or borrow several other books on Unix and Shell Scripting to help make sense of this mess.
A fully corrected and thoroughly edited version of this book could be a masterpiece. (An errata sheet would not be enough as there are too many corrections to make and that would make the examples even harder to read and understand.) But as it is this book is worse than useless. None of the information in it can be trusted without cross-checking and testing.
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