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For 2021 - online Python 3 training - see ((here)).

Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
We can now offer tailored online training - small groups, real tutors - works really well for groups of 4 to 14 delegates. Anywhere in the world; course language English.

Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python 2, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc.
Handling Binary data (.gif file example) in Perl

Perl is very good for handling binary data - it can do things you can't do with other utilities and scripting languages, and things that are very much harder to do in C - that's because C's strings are null terminated and in the case on binary strings, there may be an embedded null anywhere.

Finding good examples is a bit tricky. And that's because binary data tends to come with long and involved specifications. However, a .gif image file has the height and width of the image encoded into the 7th to 10th bytes of the file, so that does make a reasonable example

# Find all files ending in ".gif" in current directory
@files = glob("*.gif");
print ("@files\n");
 
# Handle each of them in turn
foreach $picture(@files) {
        # If we can't open a file, PANIC!
        open (FH,$picture) or die ("couldn't open $picture\n");
 
        # Read first 10 bytes into $stuff
        read (FH,$stuff,10) ;
 
# Use "v" as the most significant byte is last - little endian
# Not "n" which is the other way round - big endian
        # skip 6 bytes, the pick up 2 x 2-byte integers
        # (see the manual for unpack - v means 2 byte integer ;-) )
        ($wide,$high) = unpack("x6vv",$stuff);
 
        # With a .gif file, these two numbers are the image size!
        print "$picture - $wide x $high\n\n";
 
        }


I've put plenty of comments into that code ... good practice ... and so there's not much need for extra detailed description here. But I should add that there's a pack function that's the opposite of unpack if you want to reform binary data, and you can output binary data using the regular print function - nothing special at all is needed.

Yes - it's Perl, yes the code is that short, and when you know the language really well you can write it REALLY quickly!
(written 2008-01-17, updated 2008-01-19)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
P212 - Perl - More on Character Strings
  [453] Commenting Perl regular expressions - (2005-09-30)
  [583] Remember to process blank lines - (2006-01-31)
  [586] Perl Regular Expressions - finding the position and length of the match - (2006-02-02)
  [597] Storing a regular expression in a perl variable - (2006-02-09)
  [608] Don't expose your regular expressions - (2006-02-15)
  [737] Coloured text in a terminal from Perl - (2006-05-29)
  [928] C++ and Perl - why did they do it THAT way? - (2006-11-16)
  [943] Matching within multiline strings, and ignoring case in regular expressions - (2006-11-25)
  [1222] Perl, the substitute operator s - (2007-06-08)
  [1230] Commenting a Perl Regular Expression - (2007-06-12)
  [1251] Substitute operator / modifiers in Perl - (2007-06-28)
  [1305] Regular expressions made easy - building from components - (2007-08-16)
  [1336] Ignore case in Regular Expression - (2007-09-08)
  [1727] Equality and looks like tests - Perl - (2008-07-29)
  [1735] Finding words and work boundaries (MySQL, Perl, PHP) - (2008-08-03)
  [1947] Perl substitute - the e modifier - (2008-12-16)
  [2230] Running a piece of code is like drinking a pint of beer - (2009-06-11)
  [2379] Making variables persistant, pretending a database is a variable and other Perl tricks - (2009-08-27)
  [2657] Want to do a big batch edit? Nothing beats Perl! - (2010-03-01)
  [2801] Binary data handling with unpack in Perl - (2010-06-10)
  [2834] Teaching examples in Perl - third and final part - (2010-06-27)
  [2874] Unpacking a Perl string into a list - (2010-07-16)
  [2877] Further more advanced Perl examples - (2010-07-19)
  [2993] Arrays v Lists - what is the difference, why use one or the other - (2010-10-10)
  [3059] Object Orientation in an hour and other Perl Lectures - (2010-11-18)
  [3100] Looking ahead and behind in Regular Expressions - double matching - (2010-12-23)
  [3322] How much has Perl (and other languages) changed? - (2011-06-10)
  [3332] DNA to Amino Acid - a sample Perl script - (2011-06-24)
  [3411] Single and double quotes strings in Perl - what is the difference? - (2011-08-30)
  [3546] The difference between dot (a.k.a. full stop, period) and comma in Perl - (2011-12-09)
  [3630] Serialsing and unserialising data for storage and transfer in Perl - (2012-02-28)
  [3650] Possessive Regular Expression Matching - Perl, Objective C and some other languages - (2012-03-12)
  [3707] Converting codons via Amino Acids to Proteins in Perl - (2012-04-25)
  [3927] First match or all matches? Perl Regular Expressions - (2012-11-19)
  [4452] Binary data handling - Python and Perl - (2015-03-09)


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Autovivification - the magic appearance of variables in Perl
Perl, PHP or Python? No - Perl AND PHP AND Python!
Summer Ball at Bowood - Saturday 12th July 2008
Buses from Well House Manor, Melksham, to Bath
Handling Binary data (.gif file example) in Perl
Extracting information from a file of records
How not to write Perl?
Comments on proposed Asda Superstore for Melksham
Ongoing Image Copyright Issues, PHP and MySQL solutions
Script to present commonly used images - PHP
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