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How do I sort a hash by its values?

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Contributed by George_Sherston on Jan 13, 2002 at 02:32 UTC
Q&A  > hashes


Answer: How do I sort a hash by its values?
contributed by tye

Don't make another structure. Just keep both the array and the hash handy. If you want all of the values (sorted), you simply do:     my @values= @hash[@array];
So, if you want the 3rd key and value, you use:

my $key= @array[2]; my $value= $hash{$key};
instead of, using your data structure:
my $key= $array_of_hashes[2]{key}; my $value= $array_of_hashes[2]{value};
or     my( $key, $value )= @{$array_of_hashes[2]}{qw( key value )};
The original array and hash also store the data using quite a bit less memory.
Answer: How do I sort a hash by its values?
contributed by particle

you can read about this in perlman:perlfaq4. additionally, you can search here for 'sort hash values' or something similar. a little legwork goes a long way.

~Particle

Answer: How do I sort a hash by its values?
contributed by George_Sherston

Warning: I'm the person who asked the question!

How I'd do it is

my %hash = ( foo => 2, bar => 1, baz => 3, bun => 2, ); my @array = sort {$hash{$a} <=> $hash{$b}} keys %hash;
Of course, this array only has the hash keys in it, albeit correctly sorted. If you want a data structure with both keys *and* values from %hash then you have to choose a data structure that meets your needs. A straight hash is no good, because you have duplicate values, so you'll lose some key / value pairs when you reverse them. An array of hashes is one choice:
my @array_of_hashes; push @array_of_hashes, {key => $_, value => $hash{$_}} for @sorted;
And to see what that looks like,
use Data::Dumper; print Dumper(\@array_of_hashes);
Gets you
$VAR1 = [ { 'value' => 1, 'key' => 'bar' }, { 'value' => 2, 'key' => 'bun' }, { 'value' => 2, 'key' => 'foo' }, { 'value' => 3, 'key' => 'baz' } ];
... but I'm interested to see what other monks come up with: it was my slight unease with this solution that prompted me to post this question.

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