You want to read in records from a file, in which each record is separated by a pattern you can match with a regular expression.
Read the entire file into a string and then split on the regular expression:
$filename = '/path/to/your/file.txt'; $fh = fopen($filename, 'r') or die($php_errormsg); $contents = fread($fh, filesize($filename)); fclose($fh); $records = preg_split('/[0-9]+\) /', $contents);
This breaks apart a numbered list and places the individual list items into array elements. So if you have a list like this:
1) Gödel 2) Escher 3) Bach
You end up with a four-element array, with an empty opening element. That's because preg_split( ) assumes the delimiters are between items, but in this case, the numbers are before items:
Array (  =>  => Gödel  => Escher  => Bach )
From one point of view, this can be a feature, not a bug, since the nth element holds the nth item. But, to compact the array, you can eliminate the first element:
$records = preg_split('/[0-9]+\) /', $contents); array_shift($records);
Another modification you might want is to strip newlines from the elements and substitute the empty string instead:
$records = preg_split('/[0-9]+\) /', str_replace("\n",'',$contents)); array_shift($records);
PHP doesn't allow you to change the input record separator to anything other than a newline, so this technique is also useful for breaking apart records divided by strings. However, if you find yourself splitting on a string instead of a regular expression, substitute explode( ) for preg_split( ) for a more efficient operation.
22.9.4. See Also
Recipe 23.5 for reading from a file; Recipe 1.11 for parsing CSV files.