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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on 12 October 2017
A classic, I had this book 10 years ago or more, and I enjoyed it then, now I got it again, and will enjoy it again.
One person found this helpful
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on 15 November 2001
I purchased this book over a year ago now when I was doing a shell scripting course at university and couldnt understand a thing the lecturer was saying! This book took me out of the hole I was in and passed me the course, no doubt about it.
As if that werent enough, I have recently undertaken the LPIC1 certification and again this book was worth its weight in gold. I was studying basic use of sed in the certification guide and deicded to brush up on regular expressions and the use of sed and again, out came this book and again, within a few hours it was all made clear.
There is a large chapter on regular expressions thrown in so there's no need to buy a separate book on those unless your going in heavy, the material taught in this book is advanced enough for all but the most masochistic of people!
Thoroughly good read very impressive book. Well worth the money. Its one of the most satisfying feelings when you finally crack a regexp and get the sed script to spit out what you need!
10 people found this helpful
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on 18 June 2012
This book demystified SED and AWK, a subject that, I don't know, seemed to be so obscure. I really like the approach around the subject with a lot of examples and the language used by the author. I definitely recommend this book.
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on 2 May 2000
Unix has earned itself quite a reputation for its potent tools, used for batch editing of text files (like program output). Sed and Awk are two of these tools. Sed is a direct descendent of Ed, the original Unix line editor, which employs <I>regular expressions</I>, a powerful method for description of patterns in text, for operations like substitute, append or delete. Awk is a complete scripting language with programming structures like conditionals, loops, functions etc., developed in 1970's by Alfred Aho, Brian Kernighan and Peter Weinberger (hence A-W-K). The trio has also written a book on Awk.

Dale Dougherty (in the 2nd edition with Arnold Robbins, maintainer of GNU Awk and author of several more books on Awk programming language) have made a good job in making a thoroughly readable tutorial on Sed and Awk. However, it remains a mystery to me how they succeeded to fill no less than 407 pages with it. Mind you, Sed and Awk are not really some big monsters. There exist something like two dozens of operators in Sed (most of them you will probably never use), and the syntax of Awk mimics those of C programming language, so it is likely that you know it already. Once you grok the idea of regular expressions, you should become a proficient user of Awk in about 30 minutes.

In conclusion, go buy the book if your need to manipulate text files on Unix and you think you need a lengthy tutorial with a gentle learning curve. Otherwise, short references on Awk and Sed, like the ones in <I>Unix Power Tools</I> and a bunch of examples showing some tricks you might not think of, will probably be more useful. In addition, it is good to know that during the nineties, much of the focus has drifted from Awk to Perl, so you might consider a book on Perl as well.
11 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2004
Say what you will about the depth of this book. I am here to tell you that on more than one occasion this book has saved my bacon. Several times in different environments I needed to use sed to correct data in flat files. Once I used sed to change the format and numbers when we wanted to match accounting numbers to a different system. I haven't used that much awk. However there has been occasion to transfer awk programs from one UNIX to a different UNIX flavor. I found that the regular awk in this book was newer than the newawk in the other system. I Still keep the book handy incase I get squeezed for time and have to manipulate files. However I am learning more and more to appreciate PERL on those occasions.
2 people found this helpful
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on 15 February 2012
Many. many years ago I had a job converting data from all kinds of sources into a format for uploading to Oracle databases and this book was joined to my hip. Twenty odd years down track, I still have jobs where I use sed and awk because they are the simplest way of doing them and I still use this book. It is a clear and excellent tutorial, reference and masterclass useful to both novice and expert.
2 people found this helpful
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sed and awk are two of the most essential UNIX utilities and I knew I had to get to grips with them. You can rely on O'Reilly for a good technical book and this has to be one of their best.
This is NOT a reference guide. It is an excellent tutorial which is written in such as way that you can dip in and refer to sections in isolation. The writing style is the right balance between light humour and technical detail. It does seem to take a while to get started, but you soon realise that the thorough grounding is regular expressions is essential to make best use of the tools. One of the best UNIX books I have read.
2 people found this helpful
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on 29 April 1999
Sed & Awk are two of the most hostile looking Unix utilities. Although I was an experienced shell scripter I was terrified of Sed & Awk until I got this book. It's an excellently written guide, starting very simply without being too basic and working up to some complex concepts.
I use sed/awk daily now, they're extremely useful tools.
If this make VERY heavy use of these tools I'd also recommend reading another O'Reilly book - "Mastering Regular Expressions"
6 people found this helpful
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on 24 April 1999
This is a good book. Although I find some of the information that I need. There seems to be a fair amount that's concealed by the books approach to each topic.
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on 8 June 1999
Of all the O'Reilly books that I have read, "Sed & Awk" rates the most highly. As a tutorial it really is superb: it is well written, the learning curve is just about right, and the examples are concise and instructive. The chapter on regular expressions is particularly good. My only gripe with the text is that, as a reference tool, it can be cumbersome to navigate.
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