Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology
My wanting to execute one command using the text output of another recently got me wondering about picking out a block of characters using its position in a space-delimited list. All this needed to be done from the Linux command line or in a shell script. The output text took a form like the following:
text1 text2 text3 text4
What I wanted in my case was something like the third word above. The solution was to use the cut command with the -d (for delimiter) and -f (for field number) switches. The following yields text3 as the output:
echo "text1 text2 text3 text4" | cut -d " " -f 3
Here the delimiter is the space character but it can be anything that is relevant for the string in question. Then, the “3” picks out the required block of text. For this to work, the text needs to be organised consistently and for the delimiters never to be duplicated, though there is a way of dealing with the latter as well.