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4.2 Deleting Records

Just as recins inserts records, the utility recdel deletes them. Consider the following recfile stock.rec:

     %rec: Item
     %type: Expiry date
     %sort: Title
     Title: First Aid Kit
     Expiry: 2 May 2009
     Title: Emergency Rations
     Expiry: 10 August 2009
     Title: Life raft
     Expiry: 2 March 2009

Suppose we wanted to delete all items with an Expiry value before a certain date, we could do this with the following command:

     $ recdel -t Item -e 'Expiry << "5/12/2009"' stock.rec

After running this command, only one record will remain in the file (viz: the one titled `Emergency Rations') because all the others have expiry dates prior to 12 May 2009. 1 The -t option can be omitted if, and only if, there is no %rec field in the recfile.

recdel tries to warn you if you attempt to perform a delete operation which it deems to be too pervasive. In such cases, it will refuse to run, unless you give the --force flag. However, you should not rely upon recdel to protect you, because it cannot always correctly guess that you might be deleting more records than intended. For this reason, it may be wise to use the -c flag, which causes the relevant records to be commented out, rather than deleted. (And of course backups are always wise.)

The complete options available to the recdel command are explained later. See Invoking recdel.


[1] `5/12/2009' means the 12th day of May 2009, not the fifth day of December, even if your LC_TIME environment variable has been set to suggest otherwise.