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Re: st: RE: Remove prefixes (e.g., >, <, and +/-) from numbers stored as strings


From   Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: RE: Remove prefixes (e.g., >, <, and +/-) from numbers stored as strings
Date   Fri, 8 Jun 2012 19:40:24 +0100

Cox's Third Law of string processing is "regex machinery is great, but
always check first if something simpler will work directly".

I really wouldn't want to support removing + and - characters
separately. You could be removing genuine information!

If the issue is solely the composite prefix, then

subinstr(myvariable, "+/-", "", 1)

is as direct as anything else for pre-processing. If need be you can
of course insist that the prefix must be a prefix

... if substr(myvariable, 1, 3) == "+/-"

The single character is char(177) in my flavour of Stata. Try
-asciiplot- (SSC) to see if yours agrees

subinstr(myvariable, char(177), "", .)

is what I would try.

I like -destring- too.

Nick

On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM, Richard Herron
<richard.c.herron@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks, David! That's big. I hadn't noticed the -ignore()- option in -destring-.
>
> But what if I don't know the set of possible prefixes? I guess
> -destring- will throw an error and I iteratively improve my filter?
>
> I have some where +/- is almost like a LaTeX \pm symbol where the + is
> stacked on the -. I think this is unicode U+00B1.
> http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/b1/index.htm
>
> Can I use -destring- to -ignore()- these?

> On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM, David Radwin <dradwin@mprinc.com> wrote:
>> Can you use -destring- with the -ignore- option like this?
>>
>> . destring myvariable, ignore("+/-<>") generate(myvariable2)
>>
>> David
>> --
>> David Radwin
>> Senior Research Associate
>> MPR Associates, Inc.
>> 2150 Shattuck Ave., Suite 800
>> Berkeley, CA 94704
>> Phone: 510-849-4942
>> Fax: 510-849-0794
>>
>> www.mprinc.com
>>
>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: owner-statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu [mailto:owner-
>>> statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Herron
>>> Sent: Friday, June 08, 2012 10:30 AM
>>> To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
>>> Subject: st: Remove prefixes (e.g., >, <, and +/-) from numbers stored as
>>> strings
>>>
>>> I have numbers stored as string with prefixes (e.g., "+/-30") that I
>>> would like to convert to numbers. Not all entries necessarily have
>>> prefixes (or postfixes).
>>>
>>> With -regexm()- and -regexs()- I can remove from postfixes and handle
>>> decimals, but I can't remove prefixes. Can you spot my error with
>>> -regexm()-? Thanks!
>>>
>>> Richard Herron
>>>
>>> * begin code
>>> clear
>>> set obs 20
>>> generate number = 100*runiform()
>>> generate prefix = ""
>>> generate postfix = ""
>>> foreach i of numlist 1 5 10 15 {
>>>     replace prefix = ">" in `i'
>>>     replace postfix = "%" in `=`i' + 1'
>>>     replace number = int(number) in `=`i' + 2'
>>> }
>>> egen combo = concat(prefix number postfix)
>>> generate number2 = regexs(1) if regexm(combo, "([0-9]*\.?[0-9]*)")
>>> list
>>> * end code
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