The AWK Programming Language

Awk is a powerful Unix tool. Its name derives from the surname initials of Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan who originally designed it at Bell Labs in 1977. The program has a different version and implementations. A commonly used one is the gawk from the GNU ( According to the definition of one of its developer, Alfred. V. Aho: “AWK is a language for processing files of text. A file is treated as a sequence of records, and, by default, each line is a record. Each line is broken up into a sequence of fields so we can think of the first word in a line as the first field, the second word as the second field, and so on. An AWK program is a sequence of pattern-action statements. AWK reads the input a line at a time. A line is scanned for each pattern in the program, and for each pattern that matches, the associated action is executed.”

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