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1.4 An Example with Two Rules

The awk utility reads the input files one line at a time. For each line, awk tries the patterns of each of the rules. If several patterns match, then several actions are run in the order in which they appear in the awk program. If no patterns match, then no actions are run.

After processing all the rules that match the line (and perhaps there are none), awk reads the next line. (However, see Next Statement, and also see Nextfile Statement). This continues until the program reaches the end of the file. For example, the following awk program contains two rules:

/12/  { print $0 }
/21/  { print $0 }

The first rule has the string ‘12’ as the pattern and ‘print $0’ as the action. The second rule has the string ‘21’ as the pattern and also has ‘print $0’ as the action. Each rule’s action is enclosed in its own pair of braces.

This program prints every line that contains the string ‘12or the string ‘21’. If a line contains both strings, it is printed twice, once by each rule.

This is what happens if we run this program on our two sample data files, mail-list and inventory-shipped:

$ awk '/12/ { print $0 }
>      /21/ { print $0 }' mail-list inventory-shipped
-| Anthony      555-3412     anthony.asserturo@hotmail.com   A
-| Camilla      555-2912     camilla.infusarum@skynet.be     R
-| Fabius       555-1234     fabius.undevicesimus@ucb.edu    F
-| Jean-Paul    555-2127     jeanpaul.campanorum@nyu.edu     R
-| Jean-Paul    555-2127     jeanpaul.campanorum@nyu.edu     R
-| Jan  21  36  64 620
-| Apr  21  70  74 514

Note how the line beginning with ‘Jean-Paul’ in mail-list was printed twice, once for each rule.


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