Recipe 22.9. Reading Records with a Pattern Separator

22.9.1. Problem

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.

22.9.2. Solution

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);

22.9.3. Discussion

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 (     [0] =>     [1] => Gödel     [2] => Escher     [3] => 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.

PHP Cookbook, 2nd Edition
PHP Cookbook: Solutions and Examples for PHP Programmers
ISBN: 0596101015
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 445

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