awk refers to a particular program, and to the language you
use to tell this program what to do. When we need to be careful, we call
the program "the
awk utility" and the language "the
language." The term
gawk refers to a version of
as part the GNU project. The purpose of this book is to explain
awk language and how to run the
The main purpose of the book is to explain the features
awk, as defined in the POSIX standard. It does so in the context
of one particular implementation,
gawk. While doing so, it will also
attempt to describe important differences between
gawk and other
awk implementations. Finally, any
gawk features that
are not in the POSIX standard for
awk will be noted.
This book has the difficult task of being both tutorial and reference. If you are a novice, feel free to skip over details that seem too complex. You should also ignore the many cross references; they are for the expert user, and for the on-line Info version of the document.
awk program refers to a program written by you in
awk programming language.
See section Getting Started with
awk, for the bare
essentials you need to know to start using
Some useful "one-liners" are included to give you a feel for the
awk language (see section Useful One Line Programs).
awk programs have been provided for you
(see section A Library of
awk Functions; also
see section Practical
awk language is summarized for quick reference in
gawk Summary. Look there if you just need
to refresh your memory about a particular feature.
If you find terms that you aren't familiar with, try looking them up in the glossary (see section Glossary).
Most of the time complete
awk programs are used as examples, but in
some of the more advanced sections, only the part of the
that illustrates the concept being described is shown.
While this book is aimed principally at people who have not been
awk, there is a lot of information here that even the
expert should find useful. In particular, the description of POSIX
awk, and the example programs in
section A Library of
awk Functions, and
should be of interest.
Who opened that window shade?!? Count Dracula
Until the POSIX standard (and The Gawk Manual),
many features of
awk were either poorly documented, or not
documented at all. Descriptions of such features
(often called "dark corners") are noted in this book with
They also appear in the index under the heading "dark corner."
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