List::Util

Section: User Contributed Perl Documentation (3)
Updated: 2019-10-25
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NAME

List::Util - A selection of general-utility list subroutines  

SYNOPSIS

    use List::Util qw(
      reduce any all none notall first

      max maxstr min minstr product sum sum0

      pairs unpairs pairkeys pairvalues pairfirst pairgrep pairmap

      shuffle uniq uniqnum uniqstr
    );

 

DESCRIPTION

"List::Util" contains a selection of subroutines that people have expressed would be nice to have in the perl core, but the usage would not really be high enough to warrant the use of a keyword, and the size so small such that being individual extensions would be wasteful.

By default "List::Util" does not export any subroutines.  

LIST-REDUCTION FUNCTIONS

The following set of functions all reduce a list down to a single value.  

reduce

    $result = reduce { BLOCK } @list

Reduces @list by calling "BLOCK" in a scalar context multiple times, setting $a and $b each time. The first call will be with $a and $b set to the first two elements of the list, subsequent calls will be done by setting $a to the result of the previous call and $b to the next element in the list.

Returns the result of the last call to the "BLOCK". If @list is empty then "undef" is returned. If @list only contains one element then that element is returned and "BLOCK" is not executed.

The following examples all demonstrate how "reduce" could be used to implement the other list-reduction functions in this module. (They are not in fact implemented like this, but instead in a more efficient manner in individual C functions).

    $foo = reduce { defined($a)            ? $a :
                    $code->(local $_ = $b) ? $b :
                                             undef } undef, @list # first

    $foo = reduce { $a > $b ? $a : $b } 1..10       # max
    $foo = reduce { $a gt $b ? $a : $b } 'A'..'Z'   # maxstr
    $foo = reduce { $a < $b ? $a : $b } 1..10       # min
    $foo = reduce { $a lt $b ? $a : $b } 'aa'..'zz' # minstr
    $foo = reduce { $a + $b } 1 .. 10               # sum
    $foo = reduce { $a . $b } @bar                  # concat

    $foo = reduce { $a || $code->(local $_ = $b) } 0, @bar   # any
    $foo = reduce { $a && $code->(local $_ = $b) } 1, @bar   # all
    $foo = reduce { $a && !$code->(local $_ = $b) } 1, @bar  # none
    $foo = reduce { $a || !$code->(local $_ = $b) } 0, @bar  # notall
       # Note that these implementations do not fully short-circuit

If your algorithm requires that "reduce" produce an identity value, then make sure that you always pass that identity value as the first argument to prevent "undef" being returned

  $foo = reduce { $a + $b } 0, @values;             # sum with 0 identity value

The above example code blocks also suggest how to use "reduce" to build a more efficient combined version of one of these basic functions and a "map" block. For example, to find the total length of all the strings in a list, we could use

    $total = sum map { length } @strings;

However, this produces a list of temporary integer values as long as the original list of strings, only to reduce it down to a single value again. We can compute the same result more efficiently by using "reduce" with a code block that accumulates lengths by writing this instead as:

    $total = reduce { $a + length $b } 0, @strings

The remaining list-reduction functions are all specialisations of this generic idea.  

any

    my $bool = any { BLOCK } @list;

Since version 1.33.

Similar to "grep" in that it evaluates "BLOCK" setting $_ to each element of @list in turn. "any" returns true if any element makes the "BLOCK" return a true value. If "BLOCK" never returns true or @list was empty then it returns false.

Many cases of using "grep" in a conditional can be written using "any" instead, as it can short-circuit after the first true result.

    if( any { length > 10 } @strings ) {
        # at least one string has more than 10 characters
    }

Note: Due to XS issues the block passed may be able to access the outer @_ directly. This is not intentional and will break under debugger.  

all

    my $bool = all { BLOCK } @list;

Since version 1.33.

Similar to ``any'', except that it requires all elements of the @list to make the "BLOCK" return true. If any element returns false, then it returns false. If the "BLOCK" never returns false or the @list was empty then it returns true.

Note: Due to XS issues the block passed may be able to access the outer @_ directly. This is not intentional and will break under debugger.  

none

 

notall

    my $bool = none { BLOCK } @list;

    my $bool = notall { BLOCK } @list;

Since version 1.33.

Similar to ``any'' and ``all'', but with the return sense inverted. "none" returns true only if no value in the @list causes the "BLOCK" to return true, and "notall" returns true only if not all of the values do.

Note: Due to XS issues the block passed may be able to access the outer @_ directly. This is not intentional and will break under debugger.  

first

    my $val = first { BLOCK } @list;

Similar to "grep" in that it evaluates "BLOCK" setting $_ to each element of @list in turn. "first" returns the first element where the result from "BLOCK" is a true value. If "BLOCK" never returns true or @list was empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = first { defined($_) } @list    # first defined value in @list
    $foo = first { $_ > $value } @list    # first value in @list which
                                          # is greater than $value

 

max

    my $num = max @list;

Returns the entry in the list with the highest numerical value. If the list is empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = max 1..10                # 10
    $foo = max 3,9,12               # 12
    $foo = max @bar, @baz           # whatever

 

maxstr

    my $str = maxstr @list;

Similar to ``max'', but treats all the entries in the list as strings and returns the highest string as defined by the "gt" operator. If the list is empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = maxstr 'A'..'Z'          # 'Z'
    $foo = maxstr "hello","world"   # "world"
    $foo = maxstr @bar, @baz        # whatever

 

min

    my $num = min @list;

Similar to ``max'' but returns the entry in the list with the lowest numerical value. If the list is empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = min 1..10                # 1
    $foo = min 3,9,12               # 3
    $foo = min @bar, @baz           # whatever

 

minstr

    my $str = minstr @list;

Similar to ``min'', but treats all the entries in the list as strings and returns the lowest string as defined by the "lt" operator. If the list is empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = minstr 'A'..'Z'          # 'A'
    $foo = minstr "hello","world"   # "hello"
    $foo = minstr @bar, @baz        # whatever

 

product

    my $num = product @list;

Since version 1.35.

Returns the numerical product of all the elements in @list. If @list is empty then 1 is returned.

    $foo = product 1..10            # 3628800
    $foo = product 3,9,12           # 324

 

sum

    my $num_or_undef = sum @list;

Returns the numerical sum of all the elements in @list. For backwards compatibility, if @list is empty then "undef" is returned.

    $foo = sum 1..10                # 55
    $foo = sum 3,9,12               # 24
    $foo = sum @bar, @baz           # whatever

 

sum0

    my $num = sum0 @list;

Since version 1.26.

Similar to ``sum'', except this returns 0 when given an empty list, rather than "undef".  

KEY/VALUE PAIR LIST FUNCTIONS

The following set of functions, all inspired by List::Pairwise, consume an even-sized list of pairs. The pairs may be key/value associations from a hash, or just a list of values. The functions will all preserve the original ordering of the pairs, and will not be confused by multiple pairs having the same ``key'' value - nor even do they require that the first of each pair be a plain string.

NOTE: At the time of writing, the following "pair*" functions that take a block do not modify the value of $_ within the block, and instead operate using the $a and $b globals instead. This has turned out to be a poor design, as it precludes the ability to provide a "pairsort" function. Better would be to pass pair-like objects as 2-element array references in $_, in a style similar to the return value of the "pairs" function. At some future version this behaviour may be added.

Until then, users are alerted NOT to rely on the value of $_ remaining unmodified between the outside and the inside of the control block. In particular, the following example is UNSAFE:

 my @kvlist = ...

 foreach (qw( some keys here )) {
    my @items = pairgrep { $a eq $_ } @kvlist;
    ...
 }

Instead, write this using a lexical variable:

 foreach my $key (qw( some keys here )) {
    my @items = pairgrep { $a eq $key } @kvlist;
    ...
 }

 

pairs

    my @pairs = pairs @kvlist;

Since version 1.29.

A convenient shortcut to operating on even-sized lists of pairs, this function returns a list of "ARRAY" references, each containing two items from the given list. It is a more efficient version of

    @pairs = pairmap { [ $a, $b ] } @kvlist

It is most convenient to use in a "foreach" loop, for example:

    foreach my $pair ( pairs @kvlist ) {
       my ( $key, $value ) = @$pair;
       ...
    }

Since version 1.39 these "ARRAY" references are blessed objects, recognising the two methods "key" and "value". The following code is equivalent:

    foreach my $pair ( pairs @kvlist ) {
       my $key   = $pair->key;
       my $value = $pair->value;
       ...
    }

Since version 1.51 they also have a "TO_JSON" method to ease serialisation.  

unpairs

    my @kvlist = unpairs @pairs

Since version 1.42.

The inverse function to "pairs"; this function takes a list of "ARRAY" references containing two elements each, and returns a flattened list of the two values from each of the pairs, in order. This is notionally equivalent to

    my @kvlist = map { @{$_}[0,1] } @pairs

except that it is implemented more efficiently internally. Specifically, for any input item it will extract exactly two values for the output list; using "undef" if the input array references are short.

Between "pairs" and "unpairs", a higher-order list function can be used to operate on the pairs as single scalars; such as the following near-equivalents of the other "pair*" higher-order functions:

    @kvlist = unpairs grep { FUNC } pairs @kvlist
    # Like pairgrep, but takes $_ instead of $a and $b

    @kvlist = unpairs map { FUNC } pairs @kvlist
    # Like pairmap, but takes $_ instead of $a and $b

Note however that these versions will not behave as nicely in scalar context.

Finally, this technique can be used to implement a sort on a keyvalue pair list; e.g.:

    @kvlist = unpairs sort { $a->key cmp $b->key } pairs @kvlist

 

pairkeys

    my @keys = pairkeys @kvlist;

Since version 1.29.

A convenient shortcut to operating on even-sized lists of pairs, this function returns a list of the the first values of each of the pairs in the given list. It is a more efficient version of

    @keys = pairmap { $a } @kvlist

 

pairvalues

    my @values = pairvalues @kvlist;

Since version 1.29.

A convenient shortcut to operating on even-sized lists of pairs, this function returns a list of the the second values of each of the pairs in the given list. It is a more efficient version of

    @values = pairmap { $b } @kvlist

 

pairgrep

    my @kvlist = pairgrep { BLOCK } @kvlist;

    my $count = pairgrep { BLOCK } @kvlist;

Since version 1.29.

Similar to perl's "grep" keyword, but interprets the given list as an even-sized list of pairs. It invokes the "BLOCK" multiple times, in scalar context, with $a and $b set to successive pairs of values from the @kvlist.

Returns an even-sized list of those pairs for which the "BLOCK" returned true in list context, or the count of the number of pairs in scalar context. (Note, therefore, in scalar context that it returns a number half the size of the count of items it would have returned in list context).

    @subset = pairgrep { $a =~ m/^[[:upper:]]+$/ } @kvlist

As with "grep" aliasing $_ to list elements, "pairgrep" aliases $a and $b to elements of the given list. Any modifications of it by the code block will be visible to the caller.  

pairfirst

    my ( $key, $val ) = pairfirst { BLOCK } @kvlist;

    my $found = pairfirst { BLOCK } @kvlist;

Since version 1.30.

Similar to the ``first'' function, but interprets the given list as an even-sized list of pairs. It invokes the "BLOCK" multiple times, in scalar context, with $a and $b set to successive pairs of values from the @kvlist.

Returns the first pair of values from the list for which the "BLOCK" returned true in list context, or an empty list of no such pair was found. In scalar context it returns a simple boolean value, rather than either the key or the value found.

    ( $key, $value ) = pairfirst { $a =~ m/^[[:upper:]]+$/ } @kvlist

As with "grep" aliasing $_ to list elements, "pairfirst" aliases $a and $b to elements of the given list. Any modifications of it by the code block will be visible to the caller.  

pairmap

    my @list = pairmap { BLOCK } @kvlist;

    my $count = pairmap { BLOCK } @kvlist;

Since version 1.29.

Similar to perl's "map" keyword, but interprets the given list as an even-sized list of pairs. It invokes the "BLOCK" multiple times, in list context, with $a and $b set to successive pairs of values from the @kvlist.

Returns the concatenation of all the values returned by the "BLOCK" in list context, or the count of the number of items that would have been returned in scalar context.

    @result = pairmap { "The key $a has value $b" } @kvlist

As with "map" aliasing $_ to list elements, "pairmap" aliases $a and $b to elements of the given list. Any modifications of it by the code block will be visible to the caller.

See ``KNOWN BUGS'' for a known-bug with "pairmap", and a workaround.  

OTHER FUNCTIONS

 

shuffle

    my @values = shuffle @values;

Returns the values of the input in a random order

    @cards = shuffle 0..51      # 0..51 in a random order

 

uniq

    my @subset = uniq @values

Since version 1.45.

Filters a list of values to remove subsequent duplicates, as judged by a DWIM-ish string equality or "undef" test. Preserves the order of unique elements, and retains the first value of any duplicate set.

    my $count = uniq @values

In scalar context, returns the number of elements that would have been returned as a list.

The "undef" value is treated by this function as distinct from the empty string, and no warning will be produced. It is left as-is in the returned list. Subsequent "undef" values are still considered identical to the first, and will be removed.  

uniqnum

    my @subset = uniqnum @values

Since version 1.44.

Filters a list of values to remove subsequent duplicates, as judged by a numerical equality test. Preserves the order of unique elements, and retains the first value of any duplicate set.

    my $count = uniqnum @values

In scalar context, returns the number of elements that would have been returned as a list.

Note that "undef" is treated much as other numerical operations treat it; it compares equal to zero but additionally produces a warning if such warnings are enabled ("use warnings 'uninitialized';"). In addition, an "undef" in the returned list is coerced into a numerical zero, so that the entire list of values returned by "uniqnum" are well-behaved as numbers.

Note also that multiple IEEE "NaN" values are treated as duplicates of each other, regardless of any differences in their payloads, and despite the fact that "0+'NaN' == 0+'NaN'" yields false.  

uniqstr

    my @subset = uniqstr @values

Since version 1.45.

Filters a list of values to remove subsequent duplicates, as judged by a string equality test. Preserves the order of unique elements, and retains the first value of any duplicate set.

    my $count = uniqstr @values

In scalar context, returns the number of elements that would have been returned as a list.

Note that "undef" is treated much as other string operations treat it; it compares equal to the empty string but additionally produces a warning if such warnings are enabled ("use warnings 'uninitialized';"). In addition, an "undef" in the returned list is coerced into an empty string, so that the entire list of values returned by "uniqstr" are well-behaved as strings.  

head

    my @values = head $size, @list;

Since version 1.50.

Returns the first $size elements from @list. If $size is negative, returns all but the last $size elements from @list.

    @result = head 2, qw( foo bar baz );
    # foo, bar

    @result = head -2, qw( foo bar baz );
    # foo

 

tail

    my @values = tail $size, @list;

Since version 1.50.

Returns the last $size elements from @list. If $size is negative, returns all but the first $size elements from @list.

    @result = tail 2, qw( foo bar baz );
    # bar, baz

    @result = tail -2, qw( foo bar baz );
    # baz

 

KNOWN BUGS

 

RT #95409

<https://rt.cpan.org/Ticket/Display.html?id=95409>

If the block of code given to ``pairmap'' contains lexical variables that are captured by a returned closure, and the closure is executed after the block has been re-used for the next iteration, these lexicals will not see the correct values. For example:

 my @subs = pairmap {
    my $var = "$a is $b";
    sub { print "$var\n" };
 } one => 1, two => 2, three => 3;

 $_->() for @subs;

Will incorrectly print

 three is 3
 three is 3
 three is 3

This is due to the performance optimisation of using "MULTICALL" for the code block, which means that fresh SVs do not get allocated for each call to the block. Instead, the same SV is re-assigned for each iteration, and all the closures will share the value seen on the final iteration.

To work around this bug, surround the code with a second set of braces. This creates an inner block that defeats the "MULTICALL" logic, and does get fresh SVs allocated each time:

 my @subs = pairmap {
    {
       my $var = "$a is $b";
       sub { print "$var\n"; }
    }
 } one => 1, two => 2, three => 3;

This bug only affects closures that are generated by the block but used afterwards. Lexical variables that are only used during the lifetime of the block's execution will take their individual values for each invocation, as normal.  

uniqnum() on oversized bignums

Due to the way that "uniqnum()" compares numbers, it cannot distinguish differences between bignums (especially bigints) that are too large to fit in the native platform types. For example,

 my $x = Math::BigInt->new( "1" x 100 );
 my $y = $x + 1;

 say for uniqnum( $x, $y );

Will print just the value of $x, believing that $y is a numerically- equivalent value. This bug does not affect "uniqstr()", which will correctly observe that the two values stringify to different strings.  

SUGGESTED ADDITIONS

The following are additions that have been requested, but I have been reluctant to add due to them being very simple to implement in perl

  # How many elements are true

  sub true { scalar grep { $_ } @_ }

  # How many elements are false

  sub false { scalar grep { !$_ } @_ }

 

SEE ALSO

Scalar::Util, List::MoreUtils  

COPYRIGHT

Copyright (c) 1997-2007 Graham Barr <gbarr@pobox.com>. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

Recent additions and current maintenance by Paul Evans, <leonerd@leonerd.org.uk>.


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
LIST-REDUCTION FUNCTIONS
reduce
any
all
none
notall
first
max
maxstr
min
minstr
product
sum
sum0
KEY/VALUE PAIR LIST FUNCTIONS
pairs
unpairs
pairkeys
pairvalues
pairgrep
pairfirst
pairmap
OTHER FUNCTIONS
shuffle
uniq
uniqnum
uniqstr
head
tail
KNOWN BUGS
RT #95409
uniqnum() on oversized bignums
SUGGESTED ADDITIONS
SEE ALSO
COPYRIGHT
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