Sum numbers in a file

Download: mp4 ogv webm

Let's do now something slightly useful with our knowledge. In this example we have a file called numbers.txt that has numbers in it. Each line is a number:

examples/files/numbers.txt

3
7
23
-17
98
12

Let's add these numbers together and print out their sum: In order to accomplish this we need to have a variable to hold the sum of numbers so far that will start from 0, then go over the file line-by-line and add the content of each line to the variable holding the sum.

examples/files/count_sum.pl

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;

# given a file with a number on each row, print the sum of the numbers

my $sum = 0;
my $filename = "numbers.txt";
open(my $fh, "<", $filename) or die "Could not open '$filename'\n";
while (my $line = <$fh>) {
    $sum += $line;
}
print "The total value is $sum\n";

After including the standard beginning of almost every Perl program we declare a variable called $sum where we are going to collect the sum of the numbers. We initialize it to 0.

Then we have the name of the file hard-coded in a variable called $filename

The we call open to open the file or die to throw an exception of the open failed. Regular thing we have seen in the article open and read from files.

Then we go over it line-by-line using a while loop.

This code will read in one line on every iteration. So $line will always contain the a line which is a number and trailing newline. Then we add that line to the $sum variable using +=. Because Perl is nice to us, it disregards the newline, and automatically converts the string to a numeric value so we don't need to use any special expression for casting the string to a number.

When we finish the loop we have all the numbers in the $sum variable that we can print.

Using List::Util

We have not learned it yet, and it is not in the video, but let me add two more solutions. In the first one we use the sum function of the standard List::Util module.

examples/files/sum.pl

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use List::Util qw(sum);

my $filename = "numbers.txt";
open(my $fh, "<", $filename) or die "Could not open '$filename'\n";
my $sum = sum <$fh>;
print "The total value is $sum\n";

We open the file exactly the same way as we did in the previous example, but this pass the result of the read-file operator to the sum function. In this case we are actually reading from the file in list context which means all the lines are read into memory at once and they are passed to the sum function as individual elements. (Each line is one element.) The sum function then adds them together and returns the result.

Using Path::Tiny as well

In the third example we also use the path function of the Path::Tiny module that opens a file and returns an object on which we can call the lines method. This will return the lines of the file.

examples/files/sum_short.pl

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use List::Util qw(sum);
use Path::Tiny qw(path);

my $filename = "numbers.txt";
my $sum = sum path($filename)->lines;
print "The total value is $sum\n";