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Wicked Cool Shell Scripts

March 2004
  • Dave Taylor
  • No Starch Press
  • 1593270127

I often take a dim view of books that use superlatives in their titles. I also don't think there is anything "wicked cool" about shell scripting in general: if you need anything complex at all, Perl or something else is probably a much better way to to it. Shell scripting gets awfully nasty awfully fast.

However, I was wrong. Yes, shell scripting is an abominable way to approach most of the tasks this book explores. Just the same, the author does it "wicked cool" and you can learn a lot both from how he sees the problem and the other Unix tools he uses as part of the script. So while you might shudder at the idea of writing a link-checker in Bash, the author's clever use of Lynx's "traverse" flag is something you might make use of elsewhere. You'll find useful things like that throughout the book, and even if you'd rather write it in Perl or whatever, the logic is worth examining.

Mac OS X users will appreciate that a whole chapter is devoted to that. There's nothing particularly deep there, nothing you will be surprised by, but it's nice to see Mac get specific mention. That brings up another important point: shells are different and Unixes are different. The author does pay a lot of attention to the differences that can cause problems for your scripts when they need to run on different platforms.

See the author's web site for samples.

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