STDLIB

Reference Manual

Version 3.11

Table of Contents

string

Module

string

Module Summary

String processing functions.

Description

This module provides functions for string processing.

A string in this module is represented by unicode:chardata(), that is, a list of codepoints, binaries with UTF-8-encoded codepoints (UTF-8 binaries), or a mix of the two.

"abcd"               is a valid string
<<"abcd">>           is a valid string
["abcd"]             is a valid string
<<"abc..åäö"/utf8>>  is a valid string
<<"abc..åäö">>       is NOT a valid string,
                     but a binary with Latin-1-encoded codepoints
[<<"abc">>, "..åäö"] is a valid string
[atom]               is NOT a valid string

This module operates on grapheme clusters. A grapheme cluster is a user-perceived character, which can be represented by several codepoints.

"å"  [229] or [97, 778]
"e̊"  [101, 778]

The string length of "ß↑e̊" is 3, even though it is represented by the codepoints [223,8593,101,778] or the UTF-8 binary <<195,159,226,134,145,101,204,138>>.

Grapheme clusters for codepoints of class prepend and non-modern (or decomposed) Hangul is not handled for performance reasons in find/3, replace/3, split/2, split/2 and trim/3.

Splitting and appending strings is to be done on grapheme clusters borders. There is no verification that the results of appending strings are valid or normalized.

Most of the functions expect all input to be normalized to one form, see for example unicode:characters_to_nfc_list/1.

Language or locale specific handling of input is not considered in any function.

The functions can crash for non-valid input strings. For example, the functions expect UTF-8 binaries but not all functions verify that all binaries are encoded correctly.

Unless otherwise specified the return value type is the same as the input type. That is, binary input returns binary output, list input returns a list output, and mixed input can return a mixed output.

1> string:trim("  sarah  ").
"sarah"
2> string:trim(<<"  sarah  ">>).
<<"sarah">>
3> string:lexemes("foo bar", " ").
["foo","bar"]
4> string:lexemes(<<"foo bar">>, " ").
[<<"foo">>,<<"bar">>]

This module has been reworked in Erlang/OTP 20 to handle unicode:chardata() and operate on grapheme clusters. The old functions that only work on Latin-1 lists as input are still available but should not be used, they will be deprecated in a future release.

Data Types

direction() = leading | trailing
grapheme_cluster() = char() | [char()]

A user-perceived character, consisting of one or more codepoints.

Exports

casefold(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Converts String to a case-agnostic comparable string. Function casefold/1 is preferred over lowercase/1 when two strings are to be compared for equality. See also equal/4.

Example:

1> string:casefold("Ω and ẞ SHARP S").
"ω and ss sharp s"

OTP 20.0

Returns a string where any trailing \n or \r\n have been removed from String.

Example:

182> string:chomp(<<"\nHello\n\n">>).
<<"\nHello">>
183> string:chomp("\nHello\r\r\n").
"\nHello\r"

equal(A, B) -> boolean()
equal(A, B, IgnoreCase) -> boolean()
OTP 20.0
equal(A, B, IgnoreCase, Norm) -> boolean()
OTP 20.0

Types

IgnoreCase = boolean()
Norm = none | nfc | nfd | nfkc | nfkd

Returns true if A and B are equal, otherwise false.

If IgnoreCase is true the function does casefolding on the fly before the equality test.

If Norm is not none the function applies normalization on the fly before the equality test. There are four available normalization forms: nfc, nfd, nfkc, and nfkd.

By default, IgnoreCase is false and Norm is none.

Example:

1> string:equal("åäö", <<"åäö"/utf8>>).
true
2> string:equal("åäö", unicode:characters_to_nfd_binary("åäö")).
false
3> string:equal("åäö", unicode:characters_to_nfd_binary("ÅÄÖ"), true, nfc).
true

find(String, SearchPattern) -> unicode:chardata() | nomatch
OTP 20.0
find(String, SearchPattern, Dir) -> unicode:chardata() | nomatch
OTP 20.0

Types

String = SearchPattern = unicode:chardata()

Removes anything before SearchPattern in String and returns the remainder of the string or nomatch if SearchPattern is not found. Dir, which can be leading or trailing, indicates from which direction characters are to be searched.

By default, Dir is leading.

Example:

1> string:find("ab..cd..ef", ".").
"..cd..ef"
2> string:find(<<"ab..cd..ef">>, "..", trailing).
<<"..ef">>
3> string:find(<<"ab..cd..ef">>, "x", leading).
nomatch
4> string:find("ab..cd..ef", "x", trailing).
nomatch

is_empty(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> boolean()
OTP 20.0

Returns true if String is the empty string, otherwise false.

Example:

1> string:is_empty("foo").
false
2> string:is_empty(["",<<>>]).
true

length(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> integer() >= 0
OTP 20.0

Returns the number of grapheme clusters in String.

Example:

1> string:length("ß↑e̊").
3
2> string:length(<<195,159,226,134,145,101,204,138>>).
3

lexemes(String :: unicode:chardata(),
        SeparatorList :: [grapheme_cluster()]) ->
           [unicode:chardata()]
OTP 20.0

Returns a list of lexemes in String, separated by the grapheme clusters in SeparatorList.

Notice that, as shown in this example, two or more adjacent separator graphemes clusters in String are treated as one. That is, there are no empty strings in the resulting list of lexemes. See also split/3 which returns empty strings.

Notice that [$\r,$\n] is one grapheme cluster.

Example:

1> string:lexemes("abc de̊fxxghix jkl\r\nfoo", "x e" ++ [[$\r,$\n]]).
["abc","de̊f","ghi","jkl","foo"]
2> string:lexemes(<<"abc de̊fxxghix jkl\r\nfoo"/utf8>>, "x e" ++ [$\r,$\n]).
[<<"abc">>,<<"de̊f"/utf8>>,<<"ghi">>,<<"jkl\r\nfoo">>]

lowercase(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Converts String to lowercase.

Notice that function casefold/1 should be used when converting a string to be tested for equality.

Example:

2> string:lowercase(string:uppercase("Michał")).
"michał"

next_codepoint(String :: unicode:chardata()) ->
                  maybe_improper_list(char(), unicode:chardata()) |
                  {error, unicode:chardata()}
OTP 20.0

Returns the first codepoint in String and the rest of String in the tail. Returns an empty list if String is empty or an {error, String} tuple if the next byte is invalid.

Example:

1> string:next_codepoint(unicode:characters_to_binary("e̊fg")).
[101|<<"̊fg"/utf8>>]

next_grapheme(String :: unicode:chardata()) ->
                 maybe_improper_list(grapheme_cluster(),
                                     unicode:chardata()) |
                 {error, unicode:chardata()}
OTP 20.0

Returns the first grapheme cluster in String and the rest of String in the tail. Returns an empty list if String is empty or an {error, String} tuple if the next byte is invalid.

Example:

1> string:next_grapheme(unicode:characters_to_binary("e̊fg")).
["e̊"|<<"fg">>]

nth_lexeme(String, N, SeparatorList) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Types

N = integer() >= 0
SeparatorList = [grapheme_cluster()]

Returns lexeme number N in String, where lexemes are separated by the grapheme clusters in SeparatorList.

Example:

1> string:nth_lexeme("abc.de̊f.ghiejkl", 3, ".e").
"ghi"

pad(String, Length) -> unicode:charlist()
OTP 20.0
pad(String, Length, Dir) -> unicode:charlist()
OTP 20.0
pad(String, Length, Dir, Char) -> unicode:charlist()
OTP 20.0

Types

Length = integer()
Dir = direction() | both

Pads String to Length with grapheme cluster Char. Dir, which can be leading, trailing, or both, indicates where the padding should be added.

By default, Char is $\s and Dir is trailing.

Example:

1> string:pad(<<"He̊llö"/utf8>>, 8).
[<<72,101,204,138,108,108,195,182>>,32,32,32]
2> io:format("'~ts'~n",[string:pad("He̊llö", 8, leading)]).
'   He̊llö'
3> io:format("'~ts'~n",[string:pad("He̊llö", 8, both)]).
' He̊llö  '

prefix(String :: unicode:chardata(), Prefix :: unicode:chardata()) ->
          nomatch | unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

If Prefix is the prefix of String, removes it and returns the remainder of String, otherwise returns nomatch.

Example:

1> string:prefix(<<"prefix of string">>, "pre").
<<"fix of string">>
2> string:prefix("pre", "prefix").
nomatch

replace(String, SearchPattern, Replacement) ->
           [unicode:chardata()]
OTP 20.0
replace(String, SearchPattern, Replacement, Where) ->
           [unicode:chardata()]
OTP 20.0

Types

String = SearchPattern = Replacement = unicode:chardata()
Where = direction() | all

Replaces SearchPattern in String with Replacement. Where, default leading, indicates whether the leading, the trailing or all encounters of SearchPattern are to be replaced.

Can be implemented as:

lists:join(Replacement, split(String, SearchPattern, Where)).

Example:

1> string:replace(<<"ab..cd..ef">>, "..", "*").
[<<"ab">>,"*",<<"cd..ef">>]
2> string:replace(<<"ab..cd..ef">>, "..", "*", all).
[<<"ab">>,"*",<<"cd">>,"*",<<"ef">>]

reverse(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> [grapheme_cluster()]
OTP 20.0

Returns the reverse list of the grapheme clusters in String.

Example:

1> Reverse = string:reverse(unicode:characters_to_nfd_binary("ÅÄÖ")).
[[79,776],[65,776],[65,778]]
2> io:format("~ts~n",[Reverse]).
ÖÄÅ

slice(String, Start) -> Slice
OTP 20.0
slice(String, Start, Length) -> Slice
OTP 20.0

Types

Start = integer() >= 0
Length = infinity | integer() >= 0

Returns a substring of String of at most Length grapheme clusters, starting at position Start.

By default, Length is infinity.

Example:

1> string:slice(<<"He̊llö Wörld"/utf8>>, 4).
<<"ö Wörld"/utf8>>
2> string:slice(["He̊llö ", <<"Wörld"/utf8>>], 4,4).
"ö Wö"
3> string:slice(["He̊llö ", <<"Wörld"/utf8>>], 4,50).
"ö Wörld"

split(String, SearchPattern) -> [unicode:chardata()]
OTP 20.0
split(String, SearchPattern, Where) -> [unicode:chardata()]
OTP 20.0

Types

String = SearchPattern = unicode:chardata()
Where = direction() | all

Splits String where SearchPattern is encountered and return the remaining parts. Where, default leading, indicates whether the leading, the trailing or all encounters of SearchPattern will split String.

Example:

0> string:split("ab..bc..cd", "..").
["ab","bc..cd"]
1> string:split(<<"ab..bc..cd">>, "..", trailing).
[<<"ab..bc">>,<<"cd">>]
2> string:split(<<"ab..bc....cd">>, "..", all).
[<<"ab">>,<<"bc">>,<<>>,<<"cd">>]

take(String, Characters) -> {Leading, Trailing}
OTP 20.0
take(String, Characters, Complement) -> {Leading, Trailing}
OTP 20.0
take(String, Characters, Complement, Dir) -> {Leading, Trailing}
OTP 20.0

Types

Characters = [grapheme_cluster()]
Complement = boolean()
Leading = Trailing = unicode:chardata()

Takes characters from String as long as the characters are members of set Characters or the complement of set Characters. Dir, which can be leading or trailing, indicates from which direction characters are to be taken.

Example:

5> string:take("abc0z123", lists:seq($a,$z)).
{"abc","0z123"}
6> string:take(<<"abc0z123">>, lists:seq($0,$9), true, leading).
{<<"abc">>,<<"0z123">>}
7> string:take("abc0z123", lists:seq($0,$9), false, trailing).
{"abc0z","123"}
8> string:take(<<"abc0z123">>, lists:seq($a,$z), true, trailing).
{<<"abc0z">>,<<"123">>}

titlecase(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Converts String to titlecase.

Example:

1> string:titlecase("ß is a SHARP s").
"Ss is a SHARP s"

to_float(String) -> {Float, Rest} | {error, Reason}

Types

Float = float()
Reason = no_float | badarg

Argument String is expected to start with a valid text represented float (the digits are ASCII values). Remaining characters in the string after the float are returned in Rest.

Example:

> {F1,Fs} = string:to_float("1.0-1.0e-1"),
> {F2,[]} = string:to_float(Fs),
> F1+F2.
0.9
> string:to_float("3/2=1.5").
{error,no_float}
> string:to_float("-1.5eX").
{-1.5,"eX"}

to_integer(String) -> {Int, Rest} | {error, Reason}

Types

Int = integer()
Reason = no_integer | badarg

Argument String is expected to start with a valid text represented integer (the digits are ASCII values). Remaining characters in the string after the integer are returned in Rest.

Example:

> {I1,Is} = string:to_integer("33+22"),
> {I2,[]} = string:to_integer(Is),
> I1-I2.
11
> string:to_integer("0.5").
{0,".5"}
> string:to_integer("x=2").
{error,no_integer}

to_graphemes(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> [grapheme_cluster()]
OTP 20.0

Converts String to a list of grapheme clusters.

Example:

1> string:to_graphemes("ß↑e̊").
[223,8593,[101,778]]
2> string:to_graphemes(<<"ß↑e̊"/utf8>>).
[223,8593,[101,778]]

trim(String) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0
trim(String, Dir) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0
trim(String, Dir, Characters) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Types

Dir = direction() | both
Characters = [grapheme_cluster()]

Returns a string, where leading or trailing, or both, Characters have been removed. Dir which can be leading, trailing, or both, indicates from which direction characters are to be removed.

Default Characters is the set of nonbreakable whitespace codepoints, defined as Pattern_White_Space in Unicode Standard Annex #31. By default, Dir is both.

Notice that [$\r,$\n] is one grapheme cluster according to the Unicode Standard.

Example:

1> string:trim("\t  Hello  \n").
"Hello"
2> string:trim(<<"\t  Hello  \n">>, leading).
<<"Hello  \n">>
3> string:trim(<<".Hello.\n">>, trailing, "\n.").
<<".Hello">>

uppercase(String :: unicode:chardata()) -> unicode:chardata()
OTP 20.0

Converts String to uppercase.

See also titlecase/1.

Example:

1> string:uppercase("Michał").
"MICHAŁ"

Obsolete API functions

Here follows the function of the old API. These functions only work on a list of Latin-1 characters.

Note

The functions are kept for backward compatibility, but are not recommended. They will be deprecated in a future release.

Any undocumented functions in string are not to be used.

Exports

centre(String, Number) -> Centered
centre(String, Number, Character) -> Centered

Types

String = Centered = string()
Number = integer() >= 0
Character = char()

Returns a string, where String is centered in the string and surrounded by blanks or Character. The resulting string has length Number.

This function is obsolete. Use pad/3.

chars(Character, Number) -> String
chars(Character, Number, Tail) -> String

Types

Character = char()
Number = integer() >= 0
Tail = String = string()

Returns a string consisting of Number characters Character. Optionally, the string can end with string Tail.

This function is obsolete. Use lists:duplicate/2.

chr(String, Character) -> Index

Types

String = string()
Character = char()
Index = integer() >= 0

Returns the index of the first occurrence of Character in String. Returns 0 if Character does not occur.

This function is obsolete. Use find/2.

concat(String1, String2) -> String3

Types

String1 = String2 = String3 = string()

Concatenates String1 and String2 to form a new string String3, which is returned.

This function is obsolete. Use [String1, String2] as Data argument, and call unicode:characters_to_list/2 or unicode:characters_to_binary/2 to flatten the output.

copies(String, Number) -> Copies

Types

String = Copies = string()
Number = integer() >= 0

Returns a string containing String repeated Number times.

This function is obsolete. Use lists:duplicate/2.

cspan(String, Chars) -> Length

Types

String = Chars = string()
Length = integer() >= 0

Returns the length of the maximum initial segment of String, which consists entirely of characters not from Chars.

This function is obsolete. Use take/3.

Example:

> string:cspan("\t    abcdef", " \t").
0

join(StringList, Separator) -> String

Types

StringList = [string()]
Separator = String = string()

Returns a string with the elements of StringList separated by the string in Separator.

This function is obsolete. Use lists:join/2.

Example:

> join(["one", "two", "three"], ", ").
"one, two, three"

left(String, Number) -> Left
left(String, Number, Character) -> Left

Types

String = Left = string()
Number = integer() >= 0
Character = char()

Returns String with the length adjusted in accordance with Number. The left margin is fixed. If length(String) < Number, then String is padded with blanks or Characters.

This function is obsolete. Use pad/2 or pad/3.

Example:

> string:left("Hello",10,$.).
"Hello....."

len(String) -> Length

Types

String = string()
Length = integer() >= 0

Returns the number of characters in String.

This function is obsolete. Use length/1.

rchr(String, Character) -> Index

Types

String = string()
Character = char()
Index = integer() >= 0

Returns the index of the last occurrence of Character in String. Returns 0 if Character does not occur.

This function is obsolete. Use find/3.

right(String, Number) -> Right
right(String, Number, Character) -> Right

Types

String = Right = string()
Number = integer() >= 0
Character = char()

Returns String with the length adjusted in accordance with Number. The right margin is fixed. If the length of (String) < Number, then String is padded with blanks or Characters.

This function is obsolete. Use pad/3.

Example:

> string:right("Hello", 10, $.).
".....Hello"

rstr(String, SubString) -> Index

Types

String = SubString = string()
Index = integer() >= 0

Returns the position where the last occurrence of SubString begins in String. Returns 0 if SubString does not exist in String.

This function is obsolete. Use find/3.

Example:

> string:rstr(" Hello Hello World World ", "Hello World").
8

span(String, Chars) -> Length

Types

String = Chars = string()
Length = integer() >= 0

Returns the length of the maximum initial segment of String, which consists entirely of characters from Chars.

This function is obsolete. Use take/2.

Example:

> string:span("\t    abcdef", " \t").
5

str(String, SubString) -> Index

Types

String = SubString = string()
Index = integer() >= 0

Returns the position where the first occurrence of SubString begins in String. Returns 0 if SubString does not exist in String.

This function is obsolete. Use find/2.

Example:

> string:str(" Hello Hello World World ", "Hello World").
8

strip(String :: string()) -> string()
strip(String, Direction) -> Stripped
strip(String, Direction, Character) -> Stripped

Types

String = Stripped = string()
Direction = left | right | both
Character = char()

Returns a string, where leading or trailing, or both, blanks or a number of Character have been removed. Direction, which can be left, right, or both, indicates from which direction blanks are to be removed. strip/1 is equivalent to strip(String, both).

This function is obsolete. Use trim/3.

Example:

> string:strip("...Hello.....", both, $.).
"Hello"

sub_string(String, Start) -> SubString
sub_string(String, Start, Stop) -> SubString

Types

String = SubString = string()
Start = Stop = integer() >= 1

Returns a substring of String, starting at position Start to the end of the string, or to and including position Stop.

This function is obsolete. Use slice/3.

Example:

sub_string("Hello World", 4, 8).
"lo Wo"

substr(String, Start) -> SubString
substr(String, Start, Length) -> SubString

Types

String = SubString = string()
Start = integer() >= 1
Length = integer() >= 0

Returns a substring of String, starting at position Start, and ending at the end of the string or at length Length.

This function is obsolete. Use slice/3.

Example:

> substr("Hello World", 4, 5).
"lo Wo"

sub_word(String, Number) -> Word
sub_word(String, Number, Character) -> Word

Types

String = Word = string()
Number = integer()
Character = char()

Returns the word in position Number of String. Words are separated by blanks or Characters.

This function is obsolete. Use nth_lexeme/3.

Example:

> string:sub_word(" Hello old boy !",3,$o).
"ld b"

to_lower(String) -> Result
to_lower(Char) -> CharResult
to_upper(String) -> Result
to_upper(Char) -> CharResult

Types

String = Result = io_lib:latin1_string()
Char = CharResult = char()

The specified string or character is case-converted. Notice that the supported character set is ISO/IEC 8859-1 (also called Latin 1); all values outside this set are unchanged

This function is obsolete use lowercase/1, uppercase/1, titlecase/1 or casefold/1.

tokens(String, SeparatorList) -> Tokens

Types

String = SeparatorList = string()
Tokens = [Token :: nonempty_string()]

Returns a list of tokens in String, separated by the characters in SeparatorList.

Example:

> tokens("abc defxxghix jkl", "x ").
["abc", "def", "ghi", "jkl"]

Notice that, as shown in this example, two or more adjacent separator characters in String are treated as one. That is, there are no empty strings in the resulting list of tokens.

This function is obsolete. Use lexemes/2.

words(String) -> Count
words(String, Character) -> Count

Types

String = string()
Character = char()
Count = integer() >= 1

Returns the number of words in String, separated by blanks or Character.

This function is obsolete. Use lexemes/2.

Example:

> words(" Hello old boy!", $o).
4

Notes

Some of the general string functions can seem to overlap each other. The reason is that this string package is the combination of two earlier packages and all functions of both packages have been retained.