"Cause a little auk awk
goes a long way."

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Mar 01: Michael Sanders demos an X-windows GUI for AWK.

Mar 01: Awk100#24: A. Lahm and E. de Rinaldis' patent search, in AWK

Feb 28: Tim Menzies asks this community to write an AWK cookbook.

Feb 28: Arnold Robbins announces a new debugger for GAWK.

Feb 28: Awk100#23: Premysl Janouch offers a IRC bot, In AWK

Feb 28: Updated: the AWK FAQ

Feb 28: Tim Menzies offers a tiny content management system, in Awk.

Jan 31: Comment system added to For example, see discussion bottom of ?keys2awk

Jan 31: Martin Cohen shows that Gawk can handle massively long strings (300 million characters).

Jan 31: The AWK FAQ is being updated. For comments/ corrections/ extensions, please mail

Jan 31: Martin Cohen finds Awk on the Android platform.

Jan 31: Aleksey Cheusov released a new version of runawk.

Jan 31: Hirofumi Saito contributes a candidate Awk mascot.

Jan 31: Michael Sanders shows how to quickly build an AWK GUI for windows.

Jan 31: Hyung-Hwan Chung offers QSE, an embeddable Awk Interpreter.

[More ...]

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categories: Awk100,Jan,2009,Admin

The Awk 100


Awk is being used all around the world for real programming problems, but the news is not getting out.

We are aiming to create a database of at least one hundred Awk programs which will:

  • Identify the tasks that Awk is really being used for
  • Enable analysis of the benefits of the language for practical programming
  • Serve as an information exchange for applications


If you, or your colleagues or friends have written a program which has been used for purposes small or large, why not take five minutes to record the facts, so that others can see what you've done?

To contribute, fill in this template and mail it to with the subject line Awk 100 contribution.

Current Listing

(Recent additions are shown first.)

  1. A. Lahm and E. de Rinaldis' Patent Matrix
    • PatentMatrix is an automated tool to survey patents related to large sets of genes or proteins. The tool allows a rapid survey of patents associated with genes or proteins in a particular area of interest as defined by keywords. It can be efficiently used to evaluate the IP-related novelty of scientific findings and to rank genes or proteins according to their IP position.
  2. P Janouch's AWK IRC agent:
    • VitaminA IRC bot is an experiment on what can be done with GNU AWK. It's a very simple though powerful scripting language. Using the coprocess feature, plugins can be implemented very easily and in a language-independent way as a side-effect. The project runs only on Unix-derived systems.
  3. Stephen Jungels' music player:
    • Plaiter (pronounced "player") is a command line front end to command line music players. What does Plaiter do that (say) mpg123 can't already? It queues tracks, first of all. Secondly, it understands commands like play, plause, stop, next and prev. Finally, unlike most of the command line music players out there, Plaiter can handle a play list with more than one type of audio file, selecting the proper helper app to handle each type of file you throw at it.
  4. Dan at sourceforge's Jawk system:
    • Awk, impelemeneted in the Java virtual machine. Very useful for extending lightweight scripting in Awk with (e.g.) network and GUI facilities from Java.
  5. Axel T. Schreiner's OOC system:
    • ooc is an awk program which reads class descriptions and performs the routine coding tasks necessary to do object-oriented coding in ANSI C.
  6. Ladd and Raming's Awk A-star system:
    • Programmers often take awk "as is", never thinking to use it as a lab in which we can explore other language extensions. This is of course, only one way to treat the Awk code base. An alternate approach is to treat the Awk code base as a reusable library of parsers, regular expression engines, etc etc and to make modifications to the lanugage. This second approach was take by David Ladd and J. Christopher Raming in their A* system.
  7. Henry Spencer's Amazing Awk Syntax Language system:
    • Aaslg and aaslr implement the Amazing Awk Syntax Language, AASL (pro- nounced ``hassle''). Aaslg (pronounced ``hassling'') takes an AASL specification from the concatenation of the file(s) (default standard input) and emits the corresponding AASL table on standard output.
    • The AASL implementation is not large. The scanner is 78 lines of awk,the parser is 61 lines of AASL (using a fairly low-density paragraphing style and a good manycomments), and the semantics pass is 290 lines of awk. The table interpreter is 340 lines, about half of which (and most of the complexity) can be attributed to the automatic error recovery.
    • As an experiment with a more ambitious AASL specification, one for ANSI C was written. This occupies 374 lines excluding comments and blank lines, and with the exception of the messy details of C declarators is mostly a fairly straightforward transcription of the syntax given in the ANSI standard.
  8. Jurgen Kahrs (and others) XMLgawk system:
    • XMLgawk is an experimental extension of the GNU Awk interpreter. It includes a small XML parsing library which is built upon the Expat XML parser.
    • The same tool that can load the XML shared library can also add other libraries (e.g. PostgreSQL).
  9. Henry Spencer's Amazing Awk Assembler
    • "aaa" (the Amazing Awk Assembler) is a primitive assembler written entirely in awk and sed. It was done for fun, to establish whether it was possible. It is; it works. Using "aaa", it's very easy to adapt to a new machine, provided the machine falls into the generic "8-bit-micro" category.
  10. Ronald Loui's AI programming lab.
    • For many years, Ronald Loui has taugh AI using Awk. He writes:
      • Most people are surprised when I tell them what language we use in our undergraduate AI programming class. That's understandable. We use GAWK.
      • A repeated observation in this class is that only the scripting programmers can generate code fast enough to keep up with the demands of the class. Even though students were allowed to choose any language they wanted, and many had to unlearn the Java ways of doing things in order to benefit from scripting, there were few who could develop ideas into code effectively and rapidly without scripting.
      • What I have found not only surprising but also hopeful, is that when I have approached the AI people who still enjoy programming, some of them are not the least bit surprised.
  11. Henry Spencer's Amazing Awk Formatter.
    • Awf may not be lightning fast, and it has certain restrictions, but it does a decent job on most manual pages and simple -ms documents, and isn't subject to AT&T's brain-damaged licensing that denies many System V users any text formatter at all. It is also a text formatter that is simple enough to be tinkered with, for people who want to experiment.
  12. Yung-Pin Cheng's Awk-Linux Course ware.
    • The stable and cross-platform nature of Awk enabled the simple creation of a robust toolkit for teaching operating system concepts to university students. The toolkit is much simpler/ easier to port to new platforms, than alternative and more elaborate course ware tools.
    • This work was the basis for a quite prestigious publication in the IEEE Transactions on Education journal, 2008, Vol 51, Issue 4. Who said Awk was an old-fashioned tool?
  13. Jon Bentley's m1 micro macro processor.
    • Supports the essential operations of defining strings and replacing strings in text by their definitions. All in 110 lines. A little awk goes a long way.
  14. Arnold Robbins and Nelson Beebe's classic spell checker
    • A powerful spell checker, and a case-study on how to best write applications using hundreds of lines of Awk.
  15. Jim Hart's awk++
    • An object-oriented Awk.
  16. Wolfgan Zekol's Yawk
    • WIKI written in Awk
  17. Darius Bacon: AwkLisp
    • LISP written in Awk
  18. Bill Poser: Name
    • Generate TeX code for a bilingual dictionary.
  19. Ronald Loui: Faster clustering
    • Demonstration to DoD of a clustering algorithm suitable for streaming data
  20. Peter Krumin: Get YouTube videos
    • Download YouTube videos
  21. Jim Hart: Sudoku
    • Solve sudoku puzzles using the same strategies as a person would, not by brute force.
  22. Ronald Loui: Anne's Negotiation Game
    • Research on a model of negotiation incorporating search, dialogue, and changing expectations.
  23. Ronald Loui: Baseball Sim
    • A baseball simulator for investigating the efficiency of batting lineups.
  24. Ronald Loui: Argcol
    • A tool inspired by fmt that could be used while working in vi to maintain a multi-column pro-con argument format.
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