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Running a piece of code is like drinking a pint of beer

Q: What is the effect when I drink a pint of beer?

A: I get slightly tipsy.

But that's too simplistic!

A: The brewery has some more money
A: There's a glass to wash up
A: I need the loo!

Running a piece of code is like drinking a pint of beer - as well as a headline result, you get extra variables / side effects ... and the normal assignment statement (the = sign in all the languages we teach except Tcl) has a single target.

In Perl, though, side effect variables can be set too - and that's done especially with a regular expression match. The 'headline' return value is a true or false return, telling whether or not the string matched a patter, but there's more available to you if you want to use it:

$1, $2 etc ... for 'interesting bits' that matched parts of the pattern
$`, $& and $' for the bits before and after the matched part and the match itself

And if you use a match in a list context, you'll get back a whole list of all the interesting bits ... matched many times over if you have used the "g" modifier on the match.

From today's course ... source code that shows lots of these extra variables
(written 2009-06-11, updated 2009-06-12)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
P212 - Perl - More on Character Strings
  [4452] Binary data handling - Python and Perl - (2015-03-09)
  [3927] First match or all matches? Perl Regular Expressions - (2012-11-19)
  [3707] Converting codons via Amino Acids to Proteins in Perl - (2012-04-25)
  [3650] Possessive Regular Expression Matching - Perl, Objective C and some other languages - (2012-03-12)
  [3630] Serialsing and unserialising data for storage and transfer in Perl - (2012-02-28)
  [3546] The difference between dot (a.k.a. full stop, period) and comma in Perl - (2011-12-09)
  [3411] Single and double quotes strings in Perl - what is the difference? - (2011-08-30)
  [3332] DNA to Amino Acid - a sample Perl script - (2011-06-24)
  [3322] How much has Perl (and other languages) changed? - (2011-06-10)
  [3100] Looking ahead and behind in Regular Expressions - double matching - (2010-12-23)
  [3059] Object Orientation in an hour and other Perl Lectures - (2010-11-18)
  [2993] Arrays v Lists - what is the difference, why use one or the other - (2010-10-10)
  [2877] Further more advanced Perl examples - (2010-07-19)
  [2874] Unpacking a Perl string into a list - (2010-07-16)
  [2834] Teaching examples in Perl - third and final part - (2010-06-27)
  [2801] Binary data handling with unpack in Perl - (2010-06-10)
  [2657] Want to do a big batch edit? Nothing beats Perl! - (2010-03-01)
  [2379] Making variables persistant, pretending a database is a variable and other Perl tricks - (2009-08-27)
  [1947] Perl substitute - the e modifier - (2008-12-16)
  [1735] Finding words and work boundaries (MySQL, Perl, PHP) - (2008-08-03)
  [1727] Equality and looks like tests - Perl - (2008-07-29)
  [1510] Handling Binary data (.gif file example) in Perl - (2008-01-17)
  [1336] Ignore case in Regular Expression - (2007-09-08)
  [1305] Regular expressions made easy - building from components - (2007-08-16)
  [1251] Substitute operator / modifiers in Perl - (2007-06-28)
  [1230] Commenting a Perl Regular Expression - (2007-06-12)
  [1222] Perl, the substitute operator s - (2007-06-08)
  [943] Matching within multiline strings, and ignoring case in regular expressions - (2006-11-25)
  [928] C++ and Perl - why did they do it THAT way? - (2006-11-16)
  [737] Coloured text in a terminal from Perl - (2006-05-29)
  [608] Don't expose your regular expressions - (2006-02-15)
  [597] Storing a regular expression in a perl variable - (2006-02-09)
  [586] Perl Regular Expressions - finding the position and length of the match - (2006-02-02)
  [583] Remember to process blank lines - (2006-01-31)
  [453] Commenting Perl regular expressions - (2005-09-30)


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What is CGI.pm / A dozen new examples
Some other Articles
Loading external code into Perl from a nonstandard directory
Transforming data in Perl using lists of lists and hashes of hashes
Why sendmail one way, and pop3 the other?
What is CGI.pm / A dozen new examples
Running a piece of code is like drinking a pint of beer
Do not re-invent the wheel - use a Perl module
Where do I start when writing a program?
Learning PHP, Ruby, Lua and Python - upcoming courses
Revision / Summary of lists - Perl
How important is a front page ranking on a search engine?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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