bash Cookbook

As a non-programmer with only the most limited experience of using the Bash shell I wondered if I would find this book too heavy or too advanced. In fact, it's been great. I have tried actually reading it, as I might do an actual cookbook, for inspiration, but found that impractical. However the contents and indexing are great, and it's very easy to just look up what you want to investigate, do a bit of experimenting, and come out with a perfectly risen soufflé. Or rather, some nice little script that does just what you want it to.

It's not a book for a Linux/UNIX newbie; if a command line scares you, get something else first. But if you want the technical stuff explained in little, easy-eating bites, this is the book for you. Equally, if you already know the stuff, but need refreshing on a specific thing, I imagine that this book would be ideal.

I was impressed by how clear the book made not only the need for testing but also the techniques to do the testing; before, when fiddling with scripts (ones that someone else had written that I wanted to modify) I have sometimes come a horrible cropper when it hasn't quite worked and has modified my files and I haven't known how to revert changes. Now, I have the right ideas (and can always check the specifics with the book) to test things before visiting ruination on my files - and this has given me considerably more confidence in actually scripting in the first place.

This book will be one you want to keep to hand; if you only use scripting once in a blue moon you'll need it for constant reminders and if you script more often you may need it for fewer of your scripts but I'm fairly sure you'll use it often anyway!

Heartily recommended to the casual user who wants to expand their repertoire and the power of their shell, and strongly recommended on the basis of assumptions to confident Bash users who want a handy reference book to keep to hand.


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