Programming patterns in sed

Accepted Session
Short form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 18, 2009 from 3:50 – 4:35pm in Broadway


Learn to turn line noise into clean and structured, albeit unreadable, sed programs.


Do you grok sed, or is it all just line noise to you? Do you marvel at hackers who craft out nifty sed one liners only to realise that there’s no way anyone could understand and reuse them?

On the other hand, perhaps you’re the kind of person who loves tools like sed and awk, but have never been able to convince others of their power. In either case, this talk is for you.

sed may not be a fully featured programming language like, say C, Java or PHP, but you can do a lot with it, and you can write clean, structured sed programs. What? Did I just say sed and structured in the same sentence?

This talk will cover the basic programming patterns of sequence, selection and iteration, and also touch on variable manipulation, file handling and debugging – all in sed.

At the end of this talk, you’ll either have a new found interest in sed, or you’ll think that I’m a nutcase… but that’s why it’s in the Hacks track.

Speaking experience


  • 1543735477 f302fdc3a3

    Philip Tellis



    Philip Tellis is a geek who likes to make the computer do his work for him. As part of his job with the Performance and Security teams at Yahoo! he analyses the impact of various design decisions on web application performance and security. He also maintains the javascript implementation of strftime used in YUI and plays around with security, accessibility and i18n. He is the maintainer of several opensource projects including ayttm and libyahoo2, and most recently, boomerang — a real user web performance measurement tool.

    In his spare time, Philip enjoys cycling, reading, cooking and learning spoken languages.

    Philip has spoken at several conferences in the past, including FOSS.IN, FREED.IN, Ubuntulive, Linux Symposium, PHP Quebec, Opensource Bridge, WebDU, FOSDEM, IPC and ConFoo.