awk awk


Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan developed this scripting language in the 1970's to do pattern-matching for their data-processing tasks. The name is from the initials of their last names.

Heavily influenced by grep, they wanted a language that could do more than match lines in a file to simple regular expressions and patterns. They wanted 'computational capability' - mathematical computations. grep only dealt with strings of letters.

I first came across it in the 1990's when I began experimenting with Linux - I had already spent several years with computers, moving initially from a Commodore VIC20 (1984), to Commodore 64, to Commodore 128, and eventually to Microsoft DOS & Windows.

Now I run an iMac which is basically a Unix box. It has all the usual tools found on typical Unix computers, with awk being installed right out of the box.

Command-line interaction with a computer is no stranger to me, and I enjoy the control and speed I have.

Hopefully you are comfortable using your terminal / shell program. That's where all the action is going to be on the these pages. Fire it up and follow along.

On these pages I hope to present some of the cool and useful ways awk can be used (and are being used today).