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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • @numerics = map {/^\d + /?$_:()} ;

    The ? and : are working together here.

    For teh full details look up the perlvar man page and search for "Conditional Operator" and then Ternary operator "?:"

    The expression /^\d + / ? $_ : ()

    is equivalent to:

    if (/^\d + /){
    } else {

    Translated to english:

    "If $_ starts with a digit give me $_ otherwise give me the empty list ()"
    • Thank you. Another thing I am not used to yet is that Perl allows operations to be jammed together. I would have expected /^d + / ? $_ : (); In the languages I am familiar with that spacing makes a difference. It would be an error to write like that!

  • What you have is an emulated grep. I wonder why the author didn't just use that. Your snippet is equivalent to
    @numerics = grep { /^\d + / } LIST;
    • Actually he did list the grep you give as another way it would work along with a 'while' example. The reason I listed the map example is I didn't understand how it worked. I was displaying my ignorance, not the author's.

  • Your main question has already been answered, but you also asked why the + was there and why it wasn't \b.

    The + is actually irrelevant - it could be removed. /^\d+/ looks at the beginning of the matched text (^) for one digit (\d) or more digits (+). If the plus were changed to \b, it would require exactly one digit and disallow the line if that digit was immediately followed by an alphanumeric. If the + were removed, it would look for one digit at the start of a line (and if a line starts with one or more

    • Another visual disfunction. Usually I see that written as d+ and not 'd +'. In the languages I usually program you have to be exact. Somehow I equated that with \b. No good reason why.

      I am a little puzzled by your comment on <N>. I don't recall using the term here. Was it in another journal entry? Other special characters appear in Preview as they are. But looking at it in Preview I see the angle characters vanish. Now I see. Thanks for the tip.

      • Oops, I didn't see the space in your message. That means the pattern is requiring exactly one digit, followed by one or more spaces. (The + is still pointless in this case.) If you use the x modifier on a regular expression, the space would be for formatting purposes and not matching, so /^\d+/ and /^ \d +/x are the same, but when the x is not there, spaces and other whitespace characters match themselves.

        When it is <SPACE>+, it is still not the same as \b. The \b pattern matches a "word boundary",

    • Just wrap your code examples with <ecode></ecode> and all the escaping is taken care of :)
  • That threw me too, don't feel bad. I had never seen it in C before I started Perling.

    You are what you think.
  • It just gets worse, and worse, and then more worse. :)