scanf style parsing

Steve Clift sgclift at
Fri Sep 28 05:54:30 CEST 2001

A decade or two ago I wrote a sscanf module for just these reasons. It
used to be buried in the depths of, but I haven't checked on
its whereabouts lately. I mostly use it for converting tabular stuff
produced by other programs - the standard approaches (re, split etc) can
be relatively gruesome for this sort of thing. The version currently at
large has a minor bug or two. If anyone wants an updated version, drop
me a line.

I wasn't aware of the Python-dev suggestion, but it invoked a strong
feeling of "I think I've been here before". When I first cooked this
thing up, I suggested to Guido that 'string' / 'format' -> [list] was an
obvious move. He wasn't impressed with the notion, but I don't recall


Bruce Dawson wrote:
> I love programming in Python, but there are some things I have not found
> the easy way to do. I understand that Python is supposed to be good at
> text parsing, but I am having trouble with this simple task. Given this
> text (the output from VisualC++) I want to find out how many errors and
> warnings there were:
> smtpmail.exe - 0 error(s), 0 warning(s)
> In C/C++ that would be something like:
> sscanf(buffer, "smtpmail.exe - %d error(s), %d warning(s)", &errors,
> &warnings);
> It's not that I think the sscanf syntax is particularly elegant, but it
> sure is compact! I saw the discussion about adding scanf to Python
> but I need to know what people do right now when faced with this task.
> Let me know. E-mail answer as well would be nice, since this newsgroup
> is rather high-traffic.

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