View Full Version : Arrays in awk, simple issue?

October 7th, 2009, 11:36 PM

inside my awk script I have a variable that contains

"Lastname, Firstname M" (minus the quotes) I'll call it VAR1

in my awk script I do..

t=" ";

print length(ARRAY[1]); #This prints say 6 when run
n=length(ARRAY[1]); #Should assign the 6 from above to n
print "n = " $n; # n doesn't contain anything when the script is run

Been searching and fumbling around for hours here and Im at a loss


The above is my attempted work around for this issue...

I have a file format similar to this, with multiple lines

"Lastname, Firstname M" 00-1111 x123 Deptname

I need to parse out Lastname and Firstname and M and so forth

All values are tab seperated (except those in the quotes Lname Fname ect)

I tried using an awk script as follows and passing it the input file

BEGIN { FS="\t" }
#This should take the $1 (which should be "Lastname, Firstname M") and substitute the quotes with nothing


#printing namesegment2 at this point returns Lastname, Firstname M with out the quotes as intended

#This should parse namesegment2 based on a space delim
t=" ";
print ARRAY[1]; #This prints Lastname, which is fine
print $lastname; # HERE IS THE ISSUE, this spits out the entire line originally read by awk (what should be $0) something to the effect of... "Lastname, Firstname M" 00-1111 x123 Deptname if i recall the quotes where gone, but it shouldnt have the other data Deptname xnumber ect

END{ }

I cant begin to explain how thats possible....

Any guidance / thoughts would be very helpful and appreciated

October 8th, 2009, 01:04 AM
if you have same format, use FS to be " instead of \t. then second field will be your last name,firstname M. For the third field, you can do a split on \t .

October 8th, 2009, 01:50 AM
You're on the right track. AWK was really neat in its day. PERL and Python are a lot more powerful though, but AWK has what it takes for something this simple.

Be careful that the character following the comma is NEVER a tab. Otherwise you'll get 5 elements instead of 4. split returns the number of elements, so you can sanity check your input records, and cat the 1st 2 elements together with an intervening blank if your count is 5. Might not be right, but it's a good guess.

If you take the whole string and split initially on tab, then take the 1st element and gsub out the doublequotes, you should get what you want.

October 8th, 2009, 05:04 PM
After another 4hrs of troubleshooting I finnaly found my error. This is what I get for having not done any scripting in 6 months...

In awk when you reference variables you DO NOT use $VARNAME


VAR1="String of stuff";
print VAR1


print $VAR1


It seems that if you try to do print $VAR1 or $anything for that matter it treats your "$anything" as it would $0 which is the entire line that was fed to awk.... Thus my crazy output.

Hope this helps someone someday.