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[CLJ-1360] clojure.string/split strips trailing delimiters Created: 18/Feb/14  Updated: 30/Jul/15

Status: Open
Project: Clojure
Component/s: None
Affects Version/s: None
Fix Version/s: None

Type: Defect Priority: Minor
Reporter: Tim McCormack Assignee: Unassigned
Resolution: Unresolved Votes: 2
Labels: None

Approval: Triaged


clojure.string/split and clojure.string/split-lines inherit the bizarre default behavior of java.lang.String#split(String,int) in stripping trailing consecutive delimiters:

(clojure.string/split "banana" #"an")
⇒ ["b" "" "a"]
(clojure.string/split "banana" #"na")
⇒ ["ba"]
(clojure.string/split "nanabanana" #"na")
⇒ ["" "" "ba"]

In the case of split-lines, processing a file line by line and rejoining results in truncation of trailing newlines in the file. In both cases, the behavior is surprising and cannot be inferred from the docstrings.

This behavior should either be fixed or documented.

Comment by Andy Fingerhut [ 18/Feb/14 10:51 AM ]

Probably documenting would be safer than changing the behavior at this point, given that some people may actually rely on the current behavior after testing, deploying, etc.

I don't currently have a suggestion for a modified doc string, but note that there are examples of this behavior and how one can use an extra "-1" limit argument at the end to get all split strings: http://clojuredocs.org/clojure_core/clojure.string/split

Comment by Crispin Wellington [ 21/May/15 10:46 PM ]

This bug just bit me. +1 to be fixed. If we just document and leave the behavior as is, then we have a surprising and inconsistent behaving split (why are inner empty values kept, but outer ones stripped?) that is different to every other split you've ever used. The optional -1 limit argument looks hacky but a fix could keep this -1 argument working.

EDIT: this looks to be java's string class behavior: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2170557/split-method-of-string-class-does-not-include-trailing-empty-strings
Would be nice if limit defaulted to -1 on that type of clojure.string/split call.

Comment by Stuart Halloway [ 19/Jul/15 8:03 AM ]

This is really gross, and the original developer has been punched in the neck. (Ow.)

I hate the Java leakage, but given that this is already out there, and that people are likely already relying on both the default and the negative-arg behavior, I think the least bad bet is to document precisely the semantics we have.

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