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4.8 Processing Every Word in a File
Credit: Luther Blissett
for line in open(thefilepath).xreadlines( ): for word in line.split( ): dosomethingwith(word)
This implicitly defines words as sequences of nonspaces separated by sequences of spaces (just as the Unix program wc does). For other definitions of words, you can use regular expressions. For example:
import re re_word = re.compile(r'[\w-]+') for line in open(thefilepath).xreadlines( ): for word in re_word.findall(line): dosomethingwith(word)
In this case, a word is defined as a maximal sequence of alphanumerics and hyphens.
For other definitions of words you will obviously need different regular expressions. The outer loop, on all lines in the file, can of course be done in many ways. The xreadlines method is good, but you can also use the list obtained by the readlines method, the standard library module fileinput, or, in Python 2.2, even just:
for line in open(thefilepath):
which is simplest and fastest.
In Python 2.2, it's often a good idea to wrap iterations as iterator objects, most commonly by simple generators:
from _ _future_ _ import generators def words_of_file(thefilepath): for line in open(thefilepath): for word in line.split( ): yield word for word in words_of_file(thefilepath): dosomethingwith(word)
This approach lets you separate, cleanly and effectively, two different concerns: how to iterate over all items (in this case, words in a file) and what to do with each item in the iteration. Once you have cleanly encapsulated iteration concerns in an iterator object (often, as here, a generator), most of your uses of iteration become simple for statements. You can often reuse the iterator in many spots in your program, and if maintenance is ever needed, you can then perform it in just one place梩he definition of the iterator梤ather than having to hunt for all uses. The advantages are thus very similar to those you obtain, in any programming language, by appropriately defining and using functions rather than copying and pasting pieces of code all over the place. With Python 2.2's iterators, you can get these advantages for looping control structures, too.
4.8.4 See Also
Documentation for the fileinput module in the Library Reference; PEP 255 on simple generators (http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0255.html); Perl Cookbook Recipe 8.3.
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