Other Free O'Reilly Book: Unix Text Processing (1987)

Oko

Daemon

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Edit: I feel I should give a short outline of the above book so that people actually know what I am talking about and where my comments are coming from. The book in "review" talks about classical UNIX text processing tools which means for the most part (about 2/3) it is about Troff typesetting system and various macros. The rest of the book (about 1/3) talks about other utilities needed (or just useful) in the text processing.

  • shell (I mean sh)
  • vi editor (not VIM not Emacs but pure and simple vi)
  • AWK programming programming language designed for text processing and typically used as a data extraction and reporting tool
  • sed (stream editor) is a Unix utility that parses and transforms text, using a simple, compact programming language

Now let me give a short summary of my original post.

  1. The book is second to none when it comes to Troff text processing system! However for all its beauty Troff (actual subset of it) is nowdays only used for man pages. I argue below that mandoc is better utility for that purpose and that as a general type setting system most people will default to LaTeX macros of the typesetting system TeX which I have being using for the past 25 years. There is a third general type setting system Lout but it is even less useful than Troff. That in itself right off the bat limits the usefulness of the book.
  2. I even didn't bother to comment on the shell part.
  3. There are much better books about vi than the book in review and I just linked my favorite. If you are using VIM or editor XXX you have no reason to care about that anyway.
  4. There are much better books about AWK than the book in review and I am again suggesting my number one pick. If you don't care for AWK you should not bother reading that part of my post.
  5. There are much better books about sed. Again if you don't use sed why bother reading that part of my post.
  6. If you don't care about 1-5 please don't read the rest of my post and use your time to do something better. If you care for any of 1-5 you might find some information I posted perhaps useful or at least orthogonal to your point of view. I am not arguing against VIM, Perl, or LaTeX so your favorite tool has not being criticized. I was just analyzing the book.

This is my original post:

It is the definitive book on Troff! If you are using Troff please continue to do so as it is fine typesetting system. Having this book on your bookshelf is must! If you are just starting mdoc macros and mandoc is all you will ever need to know to write man pages. I hope the FreeBSD is finally switching from groff to mandoc with 11.0 release. Outside of the man pages from my vintage point (working mathematician) as see no use for Troff. TeX or more specifically LaTeX set of macros is all you need for your professional life. For the record I am not fun of TeXLive distribution and as a matter of fact I do prefer key value driven ConTeXt approach to LaTeX or its precessor AMSTeX develop my Mike Spivak and I prefer Don Knuth's tex engine over pdflatex and lualatex engines. I like KerTeX approach but it is not practical for working mathematician. Outside of Mathamatics, Physics, and Astronomy there is no even use for TeX. As bad as it is everyone is using Microsoft Office or one of its clones.

For learning vi I recommend Ultimate Guide to the VI and EX Text Editors

https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-VI-Text-Editors/dp/0805344608

Note vim != vi and I do not't recommend vim.

http://galexander.org/vim_sucks.html

Please check the post "Your problem with Vim is that you don't grok vi"

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/...-productive-shortcut-with-vim/1220118#1220118

to learn something.


As of the AWK that is my favorite programming language and I Aho's book (The AWK Programming Language) is my favorite programming book period.

https://www.amazon.com/AWK-Programm..._1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473049638&sr=8-1&keywords=AWK

Again not all AWK interpreters are the same and I recommend nawk.

As of sed more or less the only serious book about it is Dale Dougherty's Sed & Awk.

https://www.amazon.com/Sed-Awk-2nd-..._4?ie=UTF8&qid=1473049732&sr=8-4&keywords=sed

Do yourself a favor and skip the AWK part and just read Aho's book. Also seders are some of the deepest UNIX geeks. Please make sure you check this

http://sed.sourceforge.net/grabbag/tutorials/

Cheers,
OKO
 

forquare

Well-Known Member

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Outside of Mathamatics, Physics, and Astronomy there is no even use for TeX. As bad as it is everyone is using Microsoft Office or one of its clones

I was taught and encouraged to use LaTeX at uni as I was told that the academic world used it extensively; although the Aberystwyth Computer Science department had grown out of Mathematics and Physics so perhaps there was an amount of inheritance there. I also know of other computing students from around the UK who learnt LaTeX as part of their degree.

I still use it now, where I can, but am not the connoisseur that you are, @Oko…

wblock@ many thanks for the share. Sure some of the guys at work will appreciate this too.
 

Zirias

Son of Beastie

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Oko, I don't really see the connection of your post to the topic here? We could discuss implementations of vi (actually, I do like vim very much, especially for coding) or how useful LaTeX actually is (to me, a lot, for nearly any kind of document creation), but I don't think this is what the book is about? If you have any more insight on the contents of the book, any recommendations about what to read there, you could maybe post this?
 

Juha Nurmela

Well-Known Member

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Couple of places, shell examples did not use "$@" but relied on cooperating filenames.

Juha
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

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Oko, I don't really see the connection of your post to the topic here? We could discuss implementations of vi (actually, I do like vim very much, especially for coding) or how useful LaTeX actually is (to me, a lot, for nearly any kind of document creation), but I don't think this is what the book is about? If you have any more insight on the contents of the book, any recommendations about what to read there, you could maybe post this?

It's perfectly in line when you realise that quite large parts of the book doesn't just deal with simple plain text processing but also with document formatting (troff) and typesetting of equations (eqn). TeX and LaTeX are the de facto tools used for those tasks in the academia even today.
 

Oko

Daemon

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Oko, I don't really see the connection of your post to the topic here? We could discuss implementations of vi (actually, I do like vim very much, especially for coding) or how useful LaTeX actually is (to me, a lot, for nearly any kind of document creation), but I don't think this is what the book is about? If you have any more insight on the contents of the book, any recommendations about what to read there, you could maybe post this?
You didn't bother to download and to see what is the book about and I dare to say you didn't read my post as well.
 

Zirias

Son of Beastie

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As soon as you understand that reading isn't the same as agreeing, this might lead somewhere.
 

romanaOne

Member

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I was encouraged to use M$FT garbage word processing in grad. school. Good thing I didn't listen. My learned colleagues spent more time TABbing, pushing space, and studying APA than writing their theses. Learning a little TeX is highly preferable to learning a lot of fiddly nonsense best left to professional editors.
 
OP
wblock@

wblock@

Beastie Himself
Developer

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Some vi users hate vim, probably the other way around, too. I'm not fond of sed(1) and awk(1), both of which fall just short of being powerful and require the other to work around their flaws. Which is why there is Perl, which is hated by Python people. And so the cycle is repeated.

This book is nearly thirty years old. It's both impressive and somewhat appalling that so much is still useful.
 
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