Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Command line 101: grep, sed, and awk for newbies

Great resource from Jim Salter at Ars Technica that runs through the basics of three useful command-line programs: grep, sed, and awk:

Trying to read the man pages for the utilities most frequently seen in these extended command chains didn’t make them seem more approachable, either. For example, the sed man page weighs in at around 1,800 words alone without ever really explaining how regular expressions work or the most common uses of sed itself.

If you find yourself in the same boat, grab a beverage and buckle in. Instead of giving you encyclopedic listings of every possible argument and use case for each of these ubiquitous commands, we’re going to teach you how to think about them—and how to easily, productively incorporate them in your own daily command-line use.

I really appreciated this piece: though I’ve been a long-time user of grep and I’ve seen sed and awk I’ve never really grokked1 how best to use them. Salter’s overview is very simple and runs through the most basic uses which means that I may actually end up using and understanding them instead of just pasting in code I got from somewhere else.


  1. No manual entry for grok
—Linked by Dan Moren

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