One may want to run grep-like operation on a specific column.
For example, when I need the lines from
/home/me/test.tsv where the second column equals to
1 a 2.1 1 b 2.2 2 a 2.5 2 c 2.6
grep does not come with an option to specify column.
I don't want to break the lines into pieces or put pieces back, that's too much pain.
The trick is to use
join. It performs join (recall relational algebra) on lines of 2 input files.
% join -1 2 -2 1 -o 1.1,1.2,1.3 -t $'\t' <(sort test --key=2) <(echo a) 1 a 2.1 2 a 2.5
-2: which column to join on
-o: which columns to output (I had to specify all columns explicitly)
-t: column delimiter of input/output
<(sort test --key=2): lines sorted by 2nd column
<(echo a): just
BTW this join solution may be to some degree cleaner, but not much shorter than a perl one-liner:
% perl -ne '@cs=split;$cs eq "a" and print;' < test
and awk code is even shorter:
% awk '$2=="a"' < test