Considering migrating to Python from Visual Basic 6 for engineering applications

wrong.address.1 at wrong.address.1 at
Fri Feb 19 13:14:29 EST 2016

On Friday, 19 February 2016 16:08:46 UTC+2, Tim Chase  wrote:
> On 2016-02-19 02:47, wrong.address.1 at wrote:
> > 2 12.657823 0.1823467E-04 114 0
> > 3 4 5 9 11
> > "Lower"
> > 278.15
> > 
> > Is it straightforward to read this, or does one have to read one
> > character at a time and then figure out what the numbers are? -- 
> It's easy to read.  What you do with that mess of data is the complex
> part.  They come in as byte-strings, but you'd have to convert them
> to the corresponding formats:
>   from shlex import shlex
>   USE_LEX = True # False
>   with open('data.txt') as f:
>     for i, line in enumerate(f, 1):
>       if USE_LEX:
>         bits = shlex(line)
>       else:
>         bits = line.split()
>       for j, bit in enumerate(bits, 1):
>         if bit.isdigit():
>           result = int(bit)
>           t = "an int"
>         elif '"' in bit:
>           result = bit
>           t = "a string"
>         else:
>           result = float(bit)
>           t = "a float"
>         print("On line %i I think that item %i %r is %s: %r" % (
>           i,
>           j,
>           bit,
>           t,
>           result,
>           ))

All this I could do with one Read or Input statement in Fortran and Basic.

> The USE_LEX controls whether the example code uses string-splitting
> on white-space, or uses the built-in "shlex" module to parse for
> quoted strings that might contain a space.  The naive way of
> string-splitting will be faster, but choke on string-data containing
> spaces.
> You'd have to make up your own heuristics for determining what type
> each data "bit" is, parsing it out (with int(), float() or whatever),
> but the above gives you some rough ideas with at least one known
> bug/edge-case.  But we can't do *all* the work for you ;-)
> -tkc

This is precisely reading one character at a time. If not exactly reading one character, it is effectively looking at each character to assemble the number. Not a good sign. I guess there might be libraries which will help read numbers better, but I would expect a good language to be able to handle this basic thing for engineers - to read numbers like Fortran and Basic do.

Still, if I have misunderstood something, I will be glad to be corrected. I would generally know that the first three numbers will be floating point, the next will be something and then the next will be something else, etc. Does that help or does one still have to look at each character and determine how to place it in a number?

Thanks for your patience. I don't want surprises later on, which is why I am asking very stupid questions.

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