Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
P is for Practical

Regular expressions

by DDH (Initiate)
on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:19 UTC ( #447364=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

DDH has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I want to check if a string contains only the caracters a-z with a regular expression but their is something wrong. This is the first time i use regular expressions. I hope someone can tell me more about it. this is my code:
if ($temp2 =~ m/[a-zA-Z]/) { $naam = $1; } else { die "Wrong input"; }

20050413 Janitored by Corion: Added formatting

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Regular expressions
by jbware (Chaplain) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:35 UTC
    In addition to previous mentions, you also need () around whatever you want to capture in the $1 variable.
    if ($temp2 =~ m/^([a-zA-Z]+)$/) {$naam = $1;}

Re: Regular expressions
by tlm (Prior) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:26 UTC

    What you want is

    if ($temp2 =~ m/^([a-zA-Z]+)$/) { $naam = $1; } else { die "Wrong input"; }
    What you wrote matches only strings that contain the substring 'a-zA-Z' in them. You need to enclose ranges like 'A-Z' within [ ] for them to be interpreted as character classes. Also, by anchoring the regexp (with ^ and $1) you ensure that the entire string must match. The last thing is that you need that quantifier + so that one or more characters will match; without it, the only strings that will match are those consisting of a single letter.

    1Some people prefer to use \z instead of $ for the end-of-string anchor, because $ doesn't unconditionally match the end of the string; indeed, it ignores one optional trailing newline. I think of $ as basically shorthand for /\n?\z/... Well, it's more complicated than that, because the meaning of $ changes in the presence of the /m modifier, but not so for /\n?\z/... A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of strands to keep in the ol' duder's head...

    Update: In my original reply, I focused on the why the regexp was not matching, and failed to notice that you were using $1 later on. I fixed the regexp to reflect this. Sorry for the confusion.

    the lowliest monk

Re: Regular expressions
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:45 UTC
    Alternately, you can make sure that it doesn't contain characters that aren't the class.
    if ( $temp2 =~ /[^a-zA-Z]/ ) { die "Wrong input"; } else { # Do something useful }

    This is a very strong way to work. You're whitelisting and not blacklisting, which is best.

      Thanks for the information
Re: Regular expressions
by Fletch (Bishop) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:27 UTC

    You're only checking if there's at least one character matching your character class anywhere in your input. Anchor your regex: $temp2 =~ m/\A[a-zA-Z]+\z/. Read perldoc perleretut and perldoc perlre.

    And remember to use <code></code> tags next time.

Re: Regular expressions
by sh1tn (Priest) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:28 UTC
    $temp2 =~ /^[a-zA-Z]+$/ # ^ denotes the beginning # + denotes one or more matches # $ denotes the end
    You may want to see perldoc perlre.

Re: Regular expressions
by cees (Curate) on Apr 13, 2005 at 13:43 UTC

    You already have some good answers, but here is another that just reverses your search (ie instead of searching for a-zA-Z it searches for anything that is not a-zA-Z and negates the answer):

    $temp2 !~ m/[^a-zA-Z]/

    This will return false if it finds a character that is not a-z or A-Z. The [^ ] only matches if none of the characters contained in the brackets are found.

    You could reverse your condition to make the code easier to read with this method:

    if ($temp2 =~ m/[^a-zA-Z]/) { die "Wrong input"; } else { $naam = $1; }

    - Cees

Re: Regular expressions
by davidrw (Prior) on Apr 13, 2005 at 16:25 UTC
    lots of good answers--just want to tack on one note since OP said he's a regex first-timer.. These are all equivalent -- the /i on the end makes it case insensitive.. check the perlre man page for other modifiers (/m, /s, /x, and /g for substitutions).
    m/[a-zA-Z]/ m/[a-z]/i m/[A-Z]/i
Re: Regular expressions
by polettix (Vicar) on Apr 13, 2005 at 17:46 UTC
    You'll also enjoy YAPE::Regex::Explain by japhy reading the output of the following snippet:
    #!/usr/bin/perl use strict; use warnings; use YAPE::Regex::Explain; $\ = "\n*************\n"; # Your original print YAPE::Regex::Explain->new(qr/[a-zA-Z]/)->explain; print YAPE::Regex::Explain->new(qr/[a-zA-Z]+/)->explain; print YAPE::Regex::Explain->new(qr/([a-zA-Z]+)/)->explain; # The solution print YAPE::Regex::Explain->new(qr/^([a-zA-Z]+)$/)->explain;

    Flavio (perl -e "print(scalar(reverse('ti.xittelop@oivalf')))")

    Don't fool yourself.

Log In?

What's my password?
Create A New User
Domain Nodelet?
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: perlquestion [id://447364]
Approved by Corion
and the web crawler heard nothing...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others lurking in the Monastery: (3)
As of 2023-02-08 05:00 GMT
Find Nodes?
    Voting Booth?
    I prefer not to run the latest version of Perl because:

    Results (40 votes). Check out past polls.