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10.3.3 Checking for Readable Data Files

Normally, if you give awk a data file that isn’t readable, it stops with a fatal error. There are times when you might want to just ignore such files and keep going. You can do this by prepending the following program to your awk program:

# readable.awk --- library file to skip over unreadable files

BEGIN {
    for (i = 1; i < ARGC; i++) {
        if (ARGV[i] ~ /^[[:alpha:]_][[:alnum:]_]*=.*/ \
            || ARGV[i] == "-" || ARGV[i] == "/dev/stdin")
            continue    # assignment or standard input
        else if ((getline junk < ARGV[i]) < 0) # unreadable
            delete ARGV[i]
        else
            close(ARGV[i])
    }
}

This works, because the getline won’t be fatal. Removing the element from ARGV with delete skips the file (since it’s no longer in the list). See also ARGC and ARGV.