steves is right. I use split's LIMIT argument from time to time. It's quite handy.
This illustration prints each element on separate line, showing the nulls:
my $item1 = "1,2,3,4,5";
my $item2 = "a,b,c,,";
my @split1 = split( /,/, $item1, 5);
my @split2 = split( /,/, $item2, 5);
# better yet, to set the size of the array at run-time...
# my @split2 = split( /,/, $item2, ($#split1 + 1));
print "item1 has " . ( $#split1 + 1) ." elements:\n";
print "\nitem2 has " . ( $#split2 + 1) ." elements\n";
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