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This is what I mean by "not really extensible":

#! perl -slw use strict; use Benchmark qw[ cmpthese ]; our \$I //= -1; our \$N //= 4; my @ls = map int( 2+rand 10 ), 1 .. \$N; our \$str = pack 'S*', @ls; \$str .= 'x' x (\$_-1) . ' ' for @ls; cmpthese \$I, { a => q[ # line 1 "a" my \$templ = "S\$N" . join( ' ', map{ "\@0 x[S\$_] S \@0" . "S\$_ x[S\${ \( \$N-\$_ )}]" . '/x' x \$_ . '/a' } 0 .. \$N-1 ); my( @d ) = unpack \$templ, \$str; shift @d for 1 .. \$N; \$I == 1 and print 'a ', join '|', @d; ], b => q[ # line 1 "b" my @l = unpack "S\$N", \$str; my \$templ = "x[S\$N]" . join( ' a', '', @l ); my @d = unpack \$templ, \$str; \$I == 1 and print 'b ', join '|', @d; ], }; __END__ C:\test>junk -I=-1 -N=1 Rate a b a 128551/s -- -59% b 312873/s 143% -- C:\test>junk -I=-1 -N=10 Rate a b a 19086/s -- -67% b 57153/s 199% -- C:\test>junk -I=-1 -N=100 Rate a b a 894/s -- -89% b 7979/s 793% --

You can clean that up by not returning the counts -- which are redundant -- but it is still doing a shit load of extra work in order to avoid two calls to unpack.

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