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petdance (2468)

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I'm Andy Lester, and I like to test stuff. I also write for the Perl Journal, and do tech edits on books. Sometimes I write code, too.

Journal of petdance (2468)

Saturday February 14, 2004
02:38 PM

Perl haiku contest, and today's 5-minute hack

[ #17418 ]
ActiveState announced the winners of their Perl haiku contest. The funny thing was that I didn't know any of the names shown, and there sure seemed like a lot of duplicates. Plus, there was a Dishonorable Mention for this entry:

Unreadable code,
Why would anyone use it?
Learn a better way.

Here's why I use it: Because I can write a program to summarize the winners on the web page in 5 minutes.

use WWW::Mechanize;
my $mech = WWW::Mechanize->new( autocheck => 1 );

$mech->get( "" );

my @names = ($mech->content =~ /Name: (.+?)<BR/igm);
my %count;
++$count{$_} for @names;
for my $key ( sort { $count{$b}<=>$count{$a} || lc $a cmp lc $b } keys %count ) {
    printf "%3d: %s\n", $count{$key}, $key;

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  • thanks for the sample code. tried it. worked on cygwin (beats activestate and I dont have a *nix box online) after a bit of buggerising around with CPAN modules.

    One question though - why is it better to use regex's to extract data rather than to use a html parser?

    I ask this as I'm currently using re's to extract data from google and writing and debugging regex's takes up the most time.

    bootload [], groking softwa
    • It's better in this case because I wanted a quick (5 minutes, remember) and dirty solution to my problem.

      If you're extracting data from Google, you may want to look at the link functions in WWW::Mechanize, anyway. It does a lot of the parsing for you.



  • I needed to know who subscribed and unsubscribed from the Groo [] mailing-list in the old times. The online archives list every mail received by the list owner between 1995 and 1997, including subcription and unsubscription notifications.

    Here's the hack:

    use strict;
    use WWW::Mechanize;

    my $bot = WWW::Mechanize->new;
    my @links =
      $bot->find_all_links( text_regex => qr/^(?:UN)?SUBSCRIBE groo-l$/ );

    my ( $sub, $uns ) = ( 0, 0 );
    for (revers