Encapsulated cleverness

| Perl | 5 Comments

Is there anyone out there who can tell me what the following piece of code actually does?

@list_out = keys %{ {map {$_=>1} @list_in} };

If so then please leave a comment if you dare. I am willing to bet a good many euros that not a single person out there knows the answer to this abstract perlishness.



This uniqifies a list, which can be determined by looking at the individual pieces from the inside out:

map {$_=>1} @list_in

map() processes each element in @list_in, and for each element it returns a list (, 1). When put in braces:

{ map {$_=>1} @list_in }

it yields a reference to an anonymous hash with the (key, value)
pairs coming out of the map. The trick here is that when a key
which already exists in the hash comes out of @list_in again, the
original is overwritten by the new value.

To dereference a reference to a datastructure, you put it in braces preceded by the sigil of the type of the datastructure ('@' for arrays, '%' for hashes, '$' for scalars, etc.). So this:

%{ { map {$_=>1} @list_in } }

yields a hash. We're only interested in the keys, which are the
values of the @list_in array, uniqified, so we use the keys() builtin on the hash to get a list of the keys:

@list_out = %{ { map {$_=>1} @list_in } };

And we're done. The problem with this approach is that the order of the elements is not preserved. Using List::MoreUtils::uniq() (which is 2 lines of code), does preserve the order.

In record time as usual Arjen, shouldn't have expected anything less (although obviously a cut-and-paste sleight of hand). I guess I owe you.

No cutting and pasting was involved, this is original content.

You're right, I was misled by your professional-looking content is all, and (unjustly) jumped to conclusions. Should have checked first. Keep up the good work.

You're right, I was mislead by the professional-looking content is all, and (unjustly) jumped to conclusions. Should have checked first. Keep up the good work.

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