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11.2.7.2 A Brief Introduction To Extensions

Loadable extensions are presented in full detail in Writing Extensions for gawk. They provide a way to add functions to gawk which can call out to other facilities written in C or C++.

For the purposes of wc.awk, it’s enough to know that the extension is loaded with the @load directive, and the additional function we will use is called mbs_length(). This function returns the number of bytes in a string, not the number of characters.

The "mbs" extension comes from the gawkextlib project. See The gawkextlib Project for more information.