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Previous: 36.7 Sorting Multiline Entries Chapter 36
Sorting
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36.8 lensort: Sort Lines by Length

A nice little script to sort lines from shortest to longest can be handy when you're writing and want to find your big words:



deroff
 
uniq
 




% 

deroff -w report | uniq -d | lensort


a
an
  ...
deoxyribonucleic

Once I used it to sort a list of pathnames:



find
 





% 

find adir -type f -print | lensort


adir/.x
adir/.temp
   ...
adir/subdir/part1/somefile
adir/subdir/part1/a_test_case

The script uses awk ( 33.11 ) to print each line's length, followed by the original line. Next, sort sorts the lengths numerically ( 36.5 ) . Then sed ( 34.24 ) strips off the lengths and the spaces - and prints the lines:


#! /bin/sh
awk 'BEGIN { FS=RS }
{ print length, $0 }' $* |
# Sort the lines numerically
sort +0n -1 |
# Remove the length and the space and print each line
sed 's/^[0-9][0-9]* //'

(Some awk s require a semicolon after the first curly bracket - that is, { FS=RS }; .)

- JP


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