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There is more than one path to take here:

  1. Zero-pad your numbers, so generate them with
    my $padded=sprintf("%08.3f",39.452);
    You can do this while reading your data:
    while (<>){ split /:/; $_[0]=sprintf("%08.3f", $_[0]); push @data, join ":", @_; }
  2. Or you can sort numerically. This requires you to extract the numbers and sort on them with <=> (see perlop), like
    sort{ $a <=> $b} @numbers;
    . You can write a sub for the extraction:
    sort{extract( $a ) <=> extract( $b )} @lines; sub extract{ $a = shift; split /:/, $a; $_[0]; }
  3. It's better to extract your numbers, and use them as keys in a hash, and work with a list of sorted keys:
    my %hash; while(<>){ my ($key, $data) = split( /:/, $_, 2 ); $hash{ $key } = $data; } print "Sorted!:\n\n", join "|", sort {$a <=> $b} keys %hash;
  4. .... many more paths to come up with

HTH,

Jeroen
"We are not alone"(FZ)
(code untested, you'll get the idea)

Update
Albannach is right of course. Still, if you have quite some data, a hash-lookup is more efficient. And more scalable, as you can tie your hash onto a database, e.g. To prevent that double-count problem, add a check in for the key, if a double, add a counter or something.

$key .= ':001' if defined $hash{$key}; $key++ while defined $hash{$key};

In reply to Re: Sorting an array of strings by number by jeroenes
in thread Sorting an array of strings by number by Anonymous Monk

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