Predictive Hacks

An Εxample of ETL Tasks using Bash

We will show you a typical example of an ETL task using bash scripting. The task includes the following steps:

  • Download a gzip file using the wget command
  • Unzip the file using the gunzip command
  • Keep the first 4 columns of the file using the cut command
  • Change the delimiter of the file using the tr command
  • Load the data to a PostgreSQL table using the copy command

In this case, the bash script called is the following:

# This script downloads the file 'web-server-access-log.txt.gz'
# from "".

# The script then extracts the .txt file using gunzip.

# The .txt file contains the timestamp, latitude, longitude 
# and visitor id apart from other data.

# Transforms the text delimeter from "#" to "," and saves to a csv file.
# Loads the data from the CSV file into the table 'access_log' in PostgreSQL database.

# Download the access log file

wget ""

# Unzip the file to extract the .txt file.
gunzip -f web-server-access-log.txt.gz

# Extract phase
echo "Extracting data"
# Extract the columns 1 (timestamp), 2 (latitude), 3 (longitude) and 
# 4 (visitorid)
cut -d"#" -f1-4 web-server-access-log.txt > extracted-data.txt

# Transform phase
echo "Transforming data"

# read the extracted data and replace the colons with commas.
tr "#" "," < extracted-data.txt > transformed-data.csv

# Load phase
echo "Loading data"

# Send the instructions to connect to 'template1' and
# copy the file to the table 'access_log' through command pipeline.

echo "\c template1;\COPY access_log  FROM '/home/project/transformed-data.csv' DELIMITERS ',' CSV HEADER;" | psql --username=postgres --host=localhost

Schedule your Script

Assume that you want to schedule this script to run every day using cron. You first need to change the permissions by making the script executable:

chmod +x

Then, open the crontab editor:

crontab -e

and enter the schedule. Let’s say that we want to run the script, every day at 1am:

0 1 * * * path/

Finally, close the editor and save the edits. The new ETL job is now scheduled and running in production!


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