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xenchu (4746)

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The vapid tale of a boring layabout. I mean I don't even drink. I like women, books and Perl (hmmm, yeah, that's about the right order).

Journal of xenchu (4746)

Tuesday February 03, 2004
11:03 PM

Perl Grep Question

[ #17195 ]

This is a line I pulled out of a program on PerlMonks to find the largest 10 files in a directory. The program is clear enough, I suppose, but I don't understand the following line:

     @sizes = grep {length $_ -> [1]} @sizes;

Specifically, what is

{length $_ -> [1]}

doing? It seems to be sorting files by length but I don't understand the mechanism. Anyone care to elucidate?

I saw Windtalkers on DVD tonight. Lots of action, lots of explosions; I think Joe Bob Briggs would give it a thumbs up. I liked it and believe it is worth your time.

Thanks to merlyn and ybiC for their replies to my last entry. As a matter of fact I have a copy of Learning Perl. Unfortunately it is packed in one of dozens of boxes as part of our coming move. I am loathe to buy another copy of a book I already have. However, since I don't yet have a copy of Elements of Programming with Perl I plan to buy that. Scrooge McDuck ain't in it with me when it comes to pinching pennies.

I am going to learn Perl. As long it takes, whatever it takes, but learn it I will. A short attention span, dog-laziness, carelessness past comprehension and a thick head will not stop me.

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  • @sizes = grep {length $_ -> [1]} @sizes; Specifically, what is {length $_ -> [1]} doing?

    From the docs:

    Evaluates the BLOCK or EXPR for each element of LIST (locally setting $_ to each element) and returns the list value consist- ing of those elements for which the expression evaluated to true. In scalar context, returns the number of times the expression was true.

    The most basic example is something like:

    perl -e '@foo = grep { $_ } (1,0,undef); print "@foo\n"'

    This goes though the list (1,


    "Cake or Death!" .... "Cake please"
    • Oh. Ow. Ouch! @size is not an array of file names but rather a line with file name, file size, etc. I might plead that I am a windows programmer but geez, even so, I should have realized that. My stumbling block was [1]. I couldn't see the relationship even knowing what -> was. Density^3. Thank you.

  • I'm curious about the rest of the code. What happened to @sizes before that? Where can I see that?
    • Certainly. This was written by Abigail-II in answer the question Finding Top 10 Largest Files on PerlMonks. Since Abigail-II wrote it I have no doubt as to the correctness of the program:


      use strict;
      use warnings;
      no warnings qw /syntax/;

      open my $fh => "find / -type f |" or die;

      my @sizes = map {[-1 => ""]} 1 .. 10;

      while (<$fh>) {
          my $size = -s;
          next if $size < $sizes [-1] [0];
          foreach my $i (0 .. $#sizes) {