A Princeton professor, discovering a bit of time for himself in the summertime instructional lull, emailed an outdated pal a pair months in the past. Brian Kernighan mentioned hi, requested how their US seek advice from used to be going, and dropped off loads of strains of code that would upload Unicode enhance for AWK, the text-parsing instrument he helped create for Unix at Bell Labs in 1977.
“I’ve examined this an even quantity however obviously extra checks are wanted,” Kernighan wrote within the electronic mail, posted in past due Would possibly as a type of pseudo-commit at the onetrueawk repo by means of longtime maintainer Arnold Robbins. “When I work out how … I can attempt to post a pull request. I want I understood git higher, however despite your assist, I nonetheless shouldn’t have a correct working out, so this may occasionally take a little time.”
Kernighan is the “Ok” in AWK, a special-purpose language for extracting and manipulating language that used to be key to Unix’s pipeline options and interoperability between methods. A running
awk serve as (AWK is the language,
awk the command to invoke it) is important to each Same old UNIX Specification and IEEE POSIX certification for interoperability. There are numerous variants of
awk—together with fashionable derivations with enhance for Unicode—however “One True AWK,” every so often referred to as
nawk, is a type of canonical model according to Kernighan’s 1985 e book The AWK Programming Language and his next enter.
Kernighan could also be the “Ok” in “Ok&R C,” the foundational 1978 e book The C Programming Language he cowrote with Dennis Ritchie that sticks with programmers, mentally and in dog-eared paper shape. C’s roots pass a lot deeper. Kernighan have been educating C to staff at Bell Labs and satisfied its author, Ritchie, to collaborate on a e book to unfold the information. That e book gave delivery to “the only true brace taste,” the unending debate that is going with it, and the construction underpinning each and every fashionable programming language.
Kernighan additionally named Unix and primary demonstrated the “Hi, global” code instance. He spoke with Ars Technica’s Richard Jensen for a fiftieth anniversary historical past of Unix.
The onetrueawk repository, the place Kernighan seemed in past due Would possibly, is a quite quiet position, with 21 members, 46 GitHub customers staring at, and commits coming each and every few months. As famous by means of The Check in, Kernighan’s Unicode repair got here to gentle most commonly as it used to be discussed in an interview with the professor by means of YouTube channel Computerphile.
“It is all the time been a humiliation that AWK best labored with ASCII, or perhaps 8-bit inputs, nevertheless it does not actually deal with Unicode in any respect,” Kernighan tells interviewer professor David Brailsford. “A couple of months in the past, I spent a while running with (laughs) a surprisingly outdated program. I’ve it at this level the place it’s going to if truth be told deal with UTF-8 enter and output so as to have common expressions that, you already know, select up Jap characters, such things as that.”
Kernighan, now 80, offhandedly mentions within the interview that he has additionally patched one thing “fast and grimy” to let AWK deal with CSV information.