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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.
First match or all matches? Perl Regular Expressions

If you match a string to a regular expression, there are often lots of ways it can match. And if you're just saying "does this match", that's fair enough ... but if you're wanting to extract the matched data, you need to give it more thought.

A Perl match to /-?\d+\.\d+/ in an if statement will give the leftmost match, and the longest match from that point - so if the data is
  123454_AM_by -0.48486638 1.2125003 0.20711732
you'll match -0.48486638 (and not -0.4 and not 1.2125003 ...). You can access the matched string via $& (there are other prettier ways) if you want.

By adding a g for global on the match, and performing the match in a while loop, you can loop through all non-overlapping matches:
  while ($info =~ /\s-?\d+\.\d+/g) {
    print "Matched in loop to $&\n";
    }

giving
  Matched in loop to -0.48486638
  Matched in loop to 1.2125003
  Matched in loop to 0.20711732

and you could then push each matched element onto a list for later processing.

However, if you want a list of matches, there are often better ways using split (where you specify a regular expression for the separators you don't want) and the possibly grep to filter our required elements:
  @m2 = grep(/^-?\d+\.\d+$/,split(/\s+/,$info));
  print "Matching fields: @m2\n";


Full source code example [here], and subject covered on our Learning to program in Perl and Perl Programming course. More advanced delegates might like to take a look at our Perl for larger projects course.
(written 2012-11-19, updated 2012-11-24)

 
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)
  [1510] Handling Binary data (.gif file example) in Perl - (2008-01-17)
  [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)
  [4452] Binary data handling - Python and Perl - (2015-03-09)


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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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