Extracting certian lines from a fixed length text file

I have a fixed length text file I need to "Prune".  There is a date stamp in each record.  Characters 141-144 are a 4 digit year.  Chars 145-146 are two digit month and 147-148 are two digit day.

I would like to use "sed" or "awk" to create a new file FROM this file for all records with a date greater than or equal to 01/01/2003 (for example)

I've looked at both "sed" and "awk" and sort of understand how they work, but can't quite figure out how to get the fields from my file when I don't really have any field delimiter.

My ultimate goal is to have a shell script that will accept 3 parmaters.  "date", "inFile" and "outFile"

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

It is a lot easy to do it with "cut" if you want to use "date" as paramter and ckeck it
agains the records in file.

Here's the example script

# useage: $0 date(dd/mm/yyyy) Infile OutFile"


DD=`echo "$1 | cut -f1 -d/"`
MM=`echo "$1 | cut -f2 -d/"`
YY=`echo "$1 | cut -f2 -d/"`

#make sure OUFILE is blank, if you want to append records to this file
#just comment it out

cat /dev/null > $OUFILE

#Now read the input file, and  get the records
IFS="\012"    #read in the whole line, just in case you have white space in the records

exec 0<$INFILE

while read RECORD ; do
         RDD=`echo $RECORD | cut -c147-148 `
         RMM=`echo $RECORD | cut -c145-146 `
         RYY=`echo $RECORD | cut -c141-144 `
if [ "$RYY" -gt "$YY" ] ; then
         echo "$RECORD" >> $OUFILE         # > 2003
              if [ "$RYY" -eq "$YY" -a "$RMM" -gt "$MM" ] ; then
                     echo "$RECORD" >> $OUFILE         #
                   if [ "$RMM" -eq "$MM" -a  "$RDD" -ge "$DD" ] ; then
                         echo "$RECORD" >> $OUFILE        

# End of script

 you can also, modify the script to use:

if command1 ; then
elif command2 ; then
elif commandn ; then

You can use awk. It depends on your test date format. Assuming the format is as given (DD/MM/YYYY), and is held in the shell variable $Date:

awk -v d=$Date  '
      if(b <= t) {
         print $0
  }' infile > outfile

The BEGIN section takes the variable d, which is passed into awk, and splits it into the array a[] using the / as a separator. The three elements are then reassembled in the correct order using the sprinf() function. Note that I have assumed UK date format as opposed to US format, so you may have to change this if you have MM/DD/YYYY.

The main section compares this date with the 8 character date string extracted from each line using the substr() function. If the test succeeds then the whole line is printed.


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Oops, sorry, got my test the wrong way round.

       if(b >= t) {
andersen58Author Commented:
Thanks glassd

  Added just a few lines to pass in command line variables and it worked like great.  Ran through a 5+ MB file and created a 1.6 MB "pruned down" file in about 1 second!

It don't get any better than that!

Good work.

PS. Yeah, I caught the test being backwards just AFTER I run it (ha!)
Looked at the output and went "Hmm, that ain't right"... Easy fix!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Linux OS Dev

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.