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Another approach is shown below. Basically you are trying to find out if the @all array is a subset of each of the dlist arrays. I assumed that perhaps the dlist array might contain more e-mail addresses than the @all array.

This type of "check off the list" comparison is often done with hash tables. My comparison function makes a hash out of the dlist from the HoA. Then it iterates over each e-mail in @all and "checks off" in the hash as each one is "seen". If I find a e-mail address from the @all list that isn't in the array from the dlist hash, then it can't be a subset and the function returns a failure (not a subset).

Once it has been determined that the dlist (like "listC") contains all of the e-mail addresses in all, I count up any "extra" ones and return that list. This would allow say the compression of "listC" to be ",".

A noteworthy point here is how returning the @extra array was handled. I return () to mean "nothing", NOT undef. undef is a value. Returning () means "nothing" which is "less than" returning an undef value. The first time I did this, it took me many hours to figure out how to do it! So at some point in the future just having seen this one point may save you a lot of grief! Have fun...

#!/usr/bin/perl -w use strict; use Data::Dumper; my@all = qw(; my %dlists = ( 'listA' =>[ qw ( ], 'listB' =>[ qw (], 'listC' =>[ qw (], ); foreach my $dlist (keys %dlists) { my ($subset, @extra) = is_array_subset(\@all, \@{$dlists{$dlist}}); if ($subset) { print "$dlist contains all users "; if (@extra) { print "and ".@extra." additional addresses\n"; } else { print "\n"; } } } sub is_array_subset #returns (yes|no status, @extra) { my ($ref_all, $ref_dlist) = @_; my %dlist = map{$_ => 0 }@$ref_dlist; foreach (@$ref_all) { return (0, ()) if !exists($dlist{$_}); #give up! not subset $dlist{$_}++; } my @extra = (); #is subset, now see if any "extra's" foreach (keys %dlist) { push @extra, $_ if $dlist{$_} == 0; } return (1, @extra); } __END__ prints: listC contains all users and 1 additional addresses listA contains all users

In reply to Re: Checking contents of array against contents of a hash by Marshall
in thread Checking contents of array against contents of a hash by walkingthecow

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