This first edition was written for Lua 5.0. While still largely relevant for later versions, there are some differences.
The fourth edition targets Lua 5.3 and is available at Amazon and other bookstores.
By buying the book, you also help to support the Lua project.
|Programming in Lua|
|Part III. The Standard Libraries Chapter 20. The String Library|
The power of a raw Lua interpreter to manipulate strings is quite limited. A program can create string literals and concatenate them. But it cannot extract a substring, check its size, or examine its contents. The full power to manipulate strings in Lua comes from its string library.
Some functions in the string library are quite simple:
returns the length of a string
returns the string
You can create a string with 1M bytes (for tests, for instance)
returns a copy of
s with the
upper-case letters converted to lower case;
all other characters in the string are not changed
string.upper converts to upper case).
As a typical use, if you want to sort an
array of strings regardless of case,
you may write something like
table.sort(a, function (a, b) return string.lower(a) < string.lower(b) end)Both
string.lowerfollow the current locale. Therefore, if you work with the European Latin-1 locale, the expression
string.sub(s,i,j) extracts a piece of the string
i-th to the
j-th character inclusive.
In Lua, the first character of a string has index 1.
You can also use negative indices,
which count from the end of the string:
The index -1 refers to the last character in a string,
-2 to the previous one, and so on.
Therefore, the call
string.sub(s, 1, j) gets a prefix of
s with length
string.sub(s, j, -1) gets a suffix of the string,
starting at the
(if you do not provide a third argument,
it defaults to -1,
so we could write the last call as
string.sub(s, 2, -2) returns a copy of the string
the first and last characters removed:
s = "[in brackets]" print(string.sub(s, 2, -2)) --> in brackets
Remember that strings in Lua are immutable.
like any other function in Lua,
does not change the value of a string,
but returns a new string.
A common mistake is to write something like
string.sub(s, 2, -2)and to assume that the value of
swill be modified. If you want to modify the value of a variable, you must assign the new value to the variable:
s = string.sub(s, 2, -2)
string.byte functions convert
between characters and their internal numeric representations.
string.char gets zero or more integers,
converts each one to a character,
and returns a string concatenating all those characters.
string.byte(s, i) returns the internal numeric
representation of the
i-th character of the string
the second argument is optional, so that a call
returns the internal numeric representation of the first
(or single) character of
In the following examples,
we assume that characters are represented in ASCII:
print(string.char(97)) --> a i = 99; print(string.char(i, i+1, i+2)) --> cde print(string.byte("abc")) --> 97 print(string.byte("abc", 2)) --> 98 print(string.byte("abc", -1)) --> 99In the last line, we used a negative index to access the last character of the string.
string.format is a powerful tool when formatting strings,
typically for output.
It returns a formatted version of its variable number of arguments
following the description given by its first argument,
the so-called format string.
The format string has rules similar to those of the
function of standard C:
It is composed of regular text and directives,
which control where and how each argument must be placed
in the formatted string.
A simple directive is the character `
%´ plus a letter that
tells how to format the argument:
d´ for a decimal number, `
x´ for hexadecimal,
o´ for octal,
f´ for a floating-point number,
s´ for strings, plus other variants.
Between the `
%´ and the letter,
a directive can include other options,
which control the details of the format,
such as the number of decimal digits of a floating-point number:
print(string.format("pi = %.4f", PI)) --> pi = 3.1416 d = 5; m = 11; y = 1990 print(string.format("%02d/%02d/%04d", d, m, y)) --> 05/11/1990 tag, title = "h1", "a title" print(string.format("<%s>%s</%s>", tag, title, tag)) --> <h1>a title</h1>In the first example, the
%.4fmeans a floating-point number with four digits after the decimal point. In the second example, the
%02dmeans a decimal number (`
d´), with at least two digits and zero padding; the directive
%2d, without the zero, would use blanks for padding. For a complete description of those directives, see the Lua reference manual. Or, better yet, see a C manual, as Lua calls the standard C libraries to do the hard work here.
|Copyright © 2003–2004 Roberto Ierusalimschy. All rights reserved.|