Tawking AWK

Kent Archie

Tuesday August 25th 2020
Zoom session will open at 6:15pm (Central time)
with the meeting starting at 6:30pm thru ending around 8:30pm
(with a short review of Group business before the speaker starts), and virtual Meeting After the Meeting (afterwards)

The Fountaindale Library is closed for Meetings for now.

This meeting will be run virtually on-line using a planned UniForum Chicago Zoom account link to this same meeting


AWK is designed for processing and filtering text data using patterns. It's especially suited to managing log files but can be used for most anything. I think of it as a C interpreter in the command line. Add in the associative arrays (maps in C# or Java, dicts in Python) and you have a pretty powerful tool.

But why use awk when you have Perl, Python and bash? If you already know one or more of these, they will let you do everything awk does. But I think the syntax of awk is simpler than Perl and bash and more expressive than bash alone. I think Perl and Python are overkill for many applications.

Here I will go over the basic syntax of the language and how associative arrays work. Then we'll go over examples and combine AWK with some other tools to manipulate and interpret data. A quick example. A friend sends you a file of x,y values but made a mistake and reversed the columns. This fixes that: gawk -F "," '{print $2 "," $1 }' < plotdata.txt

This will be a virtual meeting on Zoom. The link to this Zoom meeting will be emailed one hour before the meeting to those that have RSVP'd Yes on our copy of this meeting annoucement.

Note: Be sure to have a check mark in "Email me when someone sends me a message" on your Meetup account at this location in order to receive the email notification of the Zoom URL for connecting to the meeting.

There will NOT be a in-person Meeting after the Meeting planned for this presentation, due to the State of Illinois Covid-19 virus direction for Social Distancing for groups. However expect there to be time after the presentation for a virtual Meeting After the Meeting.


Kent Archie is a retired software developer. Over the years he has programmed on everything from Fortran using punched cards on a Univac 1100 to web applications using node.js and Mongodb. He has taught at several local colleges including DePaul and North Central. He is lately having fun building phone apps and working on a backlog of unread books. This will be Kent's 5th presentation before UniForum Chicago.

Getting to the meeting

This August 2020 General meeting of UniForum Chicago (time as described with the meeting's title above) will NOT be at a physical location, but will be a virtual on-line meeting using a planned Zoom meeting for whom the Zoom URL for connecting to the meeting will be emailed to those that RSVP'd Yes to the version for this meeting abount one hour before the start of the meeting.

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