FAQ 4.52: How do I sort an array by (anything)?

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4.52: How do I sort an array by (anything)?

    Supply a comparison function to sort() (described in "sort" in

        @list = sort { $a <=> $b } @list;

    The default sort function is cmp, string comparison, which would sort
    "(1, 2, 10)" into "(1, 10, 2)". "<=>", used above, is the numerical
    comparison operator.

    If you have a complicated function needed to pull out the part you want
    to sort on, then don't do it inside the sort function. Pull it out
    first, because the sort BLOCK can be called many times for the same
    element. Here's an example of how to pull out the first word after the
    first number on each item, and then sort those words case-insensitively.

        @idx = ();
        for (@data) {
            ($item) = /\d+\s*(\S+)/;
            push @idx, uc($item);
        @sorted = @data[ sort { $idx[$a] cmp $idx[$b] } 0 .. $#idx ];

    which could also be written this way, using a trick that's come to be
    known as the Schwartzian Transform:

        @sorted = map  { $_->[0] }
                  sort { $a->[1] cmp $b->[1] }
                  map  { [ $_, uc( (/\d+\s*(\S+)/)[0]) ] } @data;

    If you need to sort on several fields, the following paradigm is useful.

        @sorted = sort { field1($a) <=> field1($b) ||
                         field2($a) cmp field2($b) ||
                         field3($a) cmp field3($b)
                       }     @data;

    This can be conveniently combined with precalculation of keys as given

    See the sort article in the "Far More Than You Ever Wanted To Know"
    collection in http://www.cpan.org/misc/olddoc/FMTEYEWTK.tgz for more
    about this approach.

    See also the question below on sorting hashes.


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