AWK — A Language That Impressed Me

An Introduction and Exercises With Solutions

Nickson Joram
4 min readFeb 2, 2023

AWK is an interpreter-based programming language. It is extremely strong and made specifically for text processing. AWK is being used for data manipulation and report generation. With the awk command programming language, variables, string functions, numeric functions, and logical operators can all be used without the need for compilation. Its name is derived from the family names of its authors (Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan).

Using the AWK utility, a programmer can create short but powerful programmes by writing statements that specify text patterns to be looked for in each line of a document and the action to be taken when a match is found. AWK is mostly used for processing and scanning patterns.

The AWK language is a data-driven scripting language that consists of a collection of actions to be executed against streams of textual data. It can be used directly on files or as part of a pipeline to extract or convert text for purposes like producing prepared reports. The string datatype, associative arrays (i.e., arrays indexed by key strings), and regular expressions are all widely used in the language. Even while AWK was created specifically to handle one-line programmes and has a narrow intended application area.

An AWK program’s basic structure has the following form:

pattern { action }