|Wicked Cool Shell Scripts - 101 Scripts for Linux, Mac OS X, and UNIX Systems|
|publisher||No Starch Press|
|summary||101 Scripts for Linux, Mac OS X, and UNIX Systems|
Chapters are divided into an array of topics sure to catch the attention of any UNIX based system user: The Missing Code Library, Improving on User Commands, Creating Utilities, Tweaking Unix, System Administration: Managing Users, System Administration: System Maintenance, Web and Internet Users, Webmaster Hacks, Web and Internet Administration, Internet Server Administration, Mac OS X Scripts, and Shell Script Fun and Games.
In true "cookbook" fashion, each hack is numbered and divided into The Code, How It Works, Running the Script, The Results and Hacking the Script. Throughout, the author clearly describes the syntax and functionality of each script, often with additional notes in How It Works detailing the syntax process and interesting asides. But Hacking the Script is what gives Wicked Cool Shell Scripts true value; where applicable, the author uses this section to describe script modifications to achieve a variety of alternative real world, practical results. This additional section alone easily triples the total number of scripts the reader is exposed to.
This book enables the reader to get "up close and personal" with their UNIX based system and explore the possibilities afforded by becoming intimate with the command line interface. The reader will find themselves easily propelled into the world of scripting, thanks entirely to Dave Taylor's ability to take what some might describe as a fairly dry topic and translate it into a logical and user friendly construct. Just reading through the table of contents is inspiring and intriguing; did you know you could write a script to retrieve movie info from IMDb? or track the value of your stock portfolio? or that you can use a very simple script to check spelling on your web pages?
Sysadmins and webmasters will find this book fundamentally critical to day-to-day operations; there are dozens of invaluable, customizable scripts highlighted in this book to enable professionals to save time and add simple, elegant solutions to annoying issues in their work environment. User account management, rotating log files, cron scripts, web page tweaks, apache passwords, synchronizing via ftp, etc. are all eminently useful and tweakable.
Geeky home users will discover they can use these scripts to work with files and directories, create spell-checking utilities, calculate loan payments, create summary listings of their iTunes libraries, and of course, play games. Many of the sysadmin scripts would also be of interest to the power user: analyzing disk usage, killing processes by name and backing up directories, to name a few. Both types of users will find this book inspiring and truly fun!
One of the secret pleasures of a technical book reviewer is finding those wonky bits of code that suffer from misplaced or missing punctuation, misspelled words and other basic typographic errors inherent in the book publishing process. I randomly selected many of these scripts to try out in the process of doing this review and...dang, haven't found any errata yet. But be sure to check out the errata page on Dave Taylor's web site for any that more astute readers may find (there were none, as of this writing).
Also be sure to take a closer look at Dave's shell script library, which lists additional scripts that didn't make the cut for the book. As convenient as it is to download the entire script library, I would like to stress the value of buying the book, which will provide you with invaluable instruction and guidance in understanding the syntax of the scripts and it also illustrates how making small but significant tweaks can modify the output to match your specific needs.
(A special nod of appreciation to Dave Taylor's Tintin references!)
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