I've told myself to get a book about bash so many times in the past that my Goodread`s Want to Read shelf was getting boringly monothematic. Last month I planned to get my hands on bash Cookbook but a comment on Amazon convinced me to dedicate my time to this title instead. To make it short, I'm not exactly enthusiast: some (just some!) parts were interesting; others (most!) were overly detailed and accompanied with complicated examples, a pain to get through.
This is a book that clearly targets beginners, people with close to no experience with Linux and the bash shell. If you work on a daily basis with the penguin, you better move along.
Ok so, let's imagine I recently moved from Windows to Linux and I want to explore what the bash shell offers me. What do I get off these 300 pages? Well, the book is divided in 3 parts:
Very basic shell features.
Basic shell scripting.
Basic shell features.
The first part, which covers the first three chapters, tells you about basic commands, such as "ls" and all the arguments it swallows. Unless you have never opened the terminal before, you might want to skip these pages.
Next the authors introduce some basic shell scripting, starting from variable naming to arrays and flow control. This was, by far, the most interesting part of the whole book in my opinion, but still, the author has covered only the very basics. What I've found particularly annoying was the choice to list all the possible options available just to find out, later, that the book wasn't about system programming so that they would have not been explained.
Finally, we leave the magic world of scripting and get introduced to other basic features, such as jobs: background foreground, handling signals.
Throughout the book the authors use an example that gets improved as they introduce new concepts. This gets early out of control in my opinion: it's overly hard to follow, mainly for a beginner. A very annoying thing of this example is the fact that the authors names variables, functions and files using Alice in Wonderland: Alice, the Hatter, ... for real?
Other examples are found in the book. They are short ad hoc code snippets found next to some command just explained. I've often ended up either using man or googling to find more.
I don't really suggest the title, neither to those new to the bash shell, nor to those that are merely interested in scripting. This book covers a little of both, but doesn't really give any value.
Linux Shell Scripting Cookbook
As usual, you can find more reviews on my personal blog: http://books.lostinmalloc.com. Feel free to pass by and share your thoughts!