README for Sort::Naturally Time-stamp: "2001-05-25 21:17:33 MDT" Sort::Naturally [extracted from the Pod...] NAME Sort::Naturally -- sort lexically, but sort numeral parts numerically SYNOPSIS @them = nsort(qw( foo12a foo12z foo13a foo 14 9x foo12 fooa foolio Foolio Foo12a )); print join(' ', @them), "\n"; Prints: 9x 14 foo fooa foolio Foolio foo12 foo12a Foo12a foo12z foo13a (Or "foo12a" + "Foo12a" and "foolio" + "Foolio" and might be switched, depending on your locale.) DESCRIPTION This module exports two functions, nsort and ncmp; they are used in implementing my idea of a "natural sorting" algorithm. Under natural sorting, numeric substrings are compared numerically, and other word-characters are compared lexically. This is the way I define natural sorting: o Non-numeric word-character substrings are sorted lexically, case-insensitively: "Foo" comes between "fish" and "fowl". o Numeric substrings are sorted numerically: "100" comes after "20", not before. o \W substrings (neither words-characters nor digits) are ignored. o Our use of \w, \d, \D, and \W is locale-sensitive: Sort::Naturally uses a use locale statement. o When comparing two strings, where a numeric substring in one place is not up against a numeric substring in another, the non-numeric always comes first. This is fudged by reading pretending that the lack of a number substring has the value -1, like so: foo => "foo", -1 foobar => "foo", -1, "bar" foo13 => "foo", 13, foo13xyz => "foo", 13, "xyz" That's so that "foo" will come before "foo13", which will come before "foobar". o The start of a string is exceptional: leading non-\W (non-word, non-digit) components are are ignored, and numbers come before letters. o I define "numeric substring" just as sequences matching m/\d+/ -- scientific notation, commas, decimals, etc., are not seen. If your data has thousands separators in numbers ("20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" or "20.000 lieues sous les mers"), consider stripping them before feeding them to nsort or ncmp. [end Pod extract] INSTALLATION You install Sort::Naturally, as you would install any perl module library, by running these commands: perl Makefile.PL make make test make install If you want to install a private copy of Sort::Naturally in your home directory, then you should try to produce the initial Makefile with something like this command: perl Makefile.PL LIB=~/perl See perldoc perlmodinstall for more information on installing modules. DOCUMENTATION POD-format documentation is included in Naturally.pm. POD is readable with the 'perldoc' utility. See ChangeLog for recent changes. SUPPORT Questions, bug reports, useful code bits, and suggestions for Sort::Naturally should just be sent to me at sburke@cpan.org AVAILABILITY The latest version of Sort::Naturally is available from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN). Visit to find a CPAN site near you. COPYRIGHT Copyright 2001, Sean M. Burke , all rights reserved. The programs and documentation in this dist are distributed in the hope that they will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.