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Date:   Thu, 25 Jan 2001 09:13:11 -0500
Reply-To:   Bob Burnham <bburnham@DARTMOUTH.EDU>
Sender:   "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:   Bob Burnham <bburnham@DARTMOUTH.EDU>
Organization:   Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
Subject:   Re: nasty text processing puzzle: SAS or Perl?

[This may be off-topic to some people, since I'm going to talk about the Perl aspects of the question. Oh well, just add me to your killfile :>)]


I always like finding interesting jobs where SAS and Perl can complement each other, and this looks like a good one. I'm not sure that you need to break down the comments into a list of all of the unique words -- especially since you probably want to just flag them so you can read them in context anyway.

TextPipe sounds like an interesting product, but fortunately you can get a list of unique words from a block of text using Perl in only a couple of lines. For example:

while(<COMMENTS>) { # read from the comment file chomp; foreach(split) { # split the line on white spaces $word{$_} = 1; # set a hash key } } @unique = sort(keys(%word)); # get list of unique words

Another way of looking at your main task is to build a regular expression that would match any of the nasty words that you want to check out. To do that, just join all of the words together separated by a pipe character and use that as your search criteria. Then you can simply whip through the file and print out any line with an offending word. For example:


# open a list of 'bad words' open(BADWORDS, "badwords.txt") || die "Error opening nasty word file.";

# read all of the nastiness into an array @nasty_mean_words = <BADWORDS>;


# get rid of those pesky CR-LFs. . . chomp(@nasty_mean_words);

# concatenate all of the words into a search string $badwords = join '|', @nasty_mean_words;

# open our list of comments to search for horrors open(COMMENTS, "comments.txt") || die "Error opening comments file.\n";

@comments = <COMMENTS>;


# create a loop to look at each comment for($i = 0; $i < scalar(@comments); $i++) { # if we find something nasty, tell the world about it if($comments[$i] =~ /$badwords/) { printf("Oh no! A bad word on line #%d: %s\n", $i+1, $comments[$i]); } }

Just my two cents. . .

Good luck and best regards,


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