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Monday, January 03, 2011

Processing clipboard data in Perl

The problem: lets say you have a program which generates data to the clipboard (or it is easier to get the data into the clipboard than into a file) and you want to process the data (create a summary for example).

Perl to the rescue!

Get the Clipboard module (if you use Linux, it is as easy as sudo cpan -i Clipboard; sudo apt-get install xclip but the package is also available as an ActivePerl package for example).

Write a script like the following:

use strict;
use warnings;
use Clipboard;

my $clippy = Clipboard->paste();
my ($sum, $cnt) = (0, 0);
while ($clippy =~ /Processed in: (\d+)/g) {
        $sum += $1;
        $cnt += 1;

print $sum/$cnt, "\n";

Profit!!! :-)

Update: you can combine this with syntax highlight for example to obtain nicely formatted source code.

Update: copying stuff to the clipboard doesn't seem to work under Linux (tested under Ubuntu 10.10) because it invokes xclip with the "primary" clipboard but it only seems to work with the "clipboard" clipboard. Unfortunately I didn't find any good material about the distinction between these different clipboard types, but the "monkey patch" below fixes the problem for me (of course I also filed a bug with the package so this should be resolved in a future version).

use strict;
use warnings;
use Clipboard;

if ('Clipboard::Xclip' eq $Clipboard::driver) {
  no warnings 'redefine';
  *Clipboard::Xclip::all_selections = sub {  
    qw(clipboard primary buffer secondary)

# ... your code here ...


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