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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.
Evaluating arithmetic expressions in configuration files

An interesting question came up in a consultants session this evening - how to take an expression that's held in a configuration file such as (A3+C3)*(A5+E6) and have the program work out the expression in the "conventional" programming sense - i.e. BODMAS (Brackets, O???? Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction).

Now - I learnt how to do this at University and I even did it way back in CGL days when I wrote a complete geometric language - the algotithm is known as a Dijkstra Shunt - but I was blowed if I wanted to try to rewrite it this evening. My visitor had a Visual Basic solution which involves him using a .dll file from Office, but his customers weren't happy having to install office as a pre-requisite to running his software. It was wanted on a web site, so how to do it in PHP?

When you think about it, all the languages we use these days already have the Dijkstra shunt built into them .... we just need to make use of it. In the case of PHP, it's available via the eval function and that's what we ended up using:

a) Take the expression and use a regular expression to extract each of the variables in turn
b) Substitute the variable with the value that it contains (that's a database lookup in my example, since C3 means the third column, 3rd row of a table
c) Use the eval function to do the sum.

Total - a few hundred bytes of code ... (see here) ... and a visitor who left feeling that in an hour I had given him the mechanism to take a complete step and an expensive piece of software out of his system.
(written 2006-05-10, updated 2006-06-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
H107 - String Handling in PHP
  [31] Here documents - (2004-08-28)
  [54] PHP and natural sorting - (2004-09-19)
  [337] the array returned by preg_match_all - (2005-06-06)
  [422] PHP Magic Quotes - (2005-08-22)
  [463] Splitting the difference - (2005-10-13)
  [493] Running a Perl script within a PHP page - (2005-11-12)
  [558] Converting between acres and hectares - (2006-01-08)
  [560] The fencepost problem - (2006-01-10)
  [574] PHP - dividing a string up into pieces - (2006-01-23)
  [589] Robust PHP user inputs - (2006-02-03)
  [608] Don't expose your regular expressions - (2006-02-15)
  [642] How similar are two words - (2006-03-11)
  [728] Looking ahead and behind in a Regular Expression - (2006-05-22)
  [1008] Date conversion - PHP - (2006-12-26)
  [1058] PHP Regular expression to extrtact link and text - (2007-01-31)
  [1195] Regular Express Primer - (2007-05-20)
  [1336] Ignore case in Regular Expression - (2007-09-08)
  [1372] A taster PHP expression ... - (2007-09-30)
  [1533] Short and sweet and sticky - PHP form input - (2008-02-06)
  [1603] Do not SHOUT and do not whisper - (2008-04-06)
  [1613] Regular expression for 6 digits OR 25 digits - (2008-04-16)
  [1799] Regular Expressions in PHP - (2008-09-16)
  [2046] Finding variations on a surname - (2009-02-17)
  [2165] Making Regular Expressions easy to read and maintain - (2009-05-10)
  [2238] Handling nasty characters - Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, Lua - (2009-06-14)
  [2629] Curly braces within double quoted strings in PHP - (2010-02-09)
  [3020] Handling (expanding) tabs in PHP - (2010-10-29)
  [3424] Divide 10000 by 17. Do you get 588.235294117647, 588.24 or 588? - Ruby and PHP - (2011-09-08)
  [3515] PHP - moving from ereg to preg for regular expressions - (2011-11-11)
  [3516] Regular Expression modifiers in PHP - summary table - (2011-11-12)
  [3534] Learning to program in PHP - Regular Expression and Associative Array examples - (2011-12-01)
  [3788] Getting more than a yes / no answer from a regular expression pattern match - (2012-06-30)
  [3789] More than just matching with a regular expression in PHP - (2012-06-30)
  [3790] Solution looking for a problem? Lookahead and Lookbehind - (2012-06-30)
  [4071] Setting up strings in PHP - (2013-04-27)
  [4072] Splitting the difference with PHP - (2013-04-27)


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Evaluating arithmetic expressions in configuration files
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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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