On with TASK #2 from the Perl Weekly Challenge #111. Enjoy!

The challenge

Given a word, you can sort its letters alphabetically (case insensitive). For example, “beekeeper” becomes “beeeeekpr” and “dictionary” becomes “acdiinorty”.

Write a script to find the longest English words that don’t change when their letters are sorted.

The questions

Can I overengineer it?!?

For reasons that will be clear shortly…

The solution

I know. It says English words.

But but…

… I wanted to make it more generic.

So I took a chance to look at the Perl Unicode Cookbook, hoping to not make too much of a mess:

#!/usr/bin/env perl
use utf8;                     # so literals and identifiers can be in UTF-8
use v5.24;
use strict;                   # quote strings, declare variables
use warnings;                 # on by default
use warnings qw(FATAL utf8);  # fatalize encoding glitches
use open qw(:std :utf8);      # undeclared streams in UTF-8
use experimental qw< postderef signatures >;
no warnings qw< experimental::postderef experimental::signatures >;

use Unicode::Normalize;
use Unicode::Collate;
use Encode qw(decode_utf8);

@ARGV = map { decode_utf8($_, 1) } @ARGV;

my @pairs;
while (<>) {
   my $pair = check_ordered(NFD($_)) // next;
   push @pairs, $pair;
say for reverse map { $_->[1] } sort { $a->[0] <=> $b->[0] } @pairs;

sub check_ordered ($x) {
   state $coll = Unicode::Collate->new(level => 1);
   state $es = Unicode::Collate->new(level => 1, normalization => undef);
   my @chars = $x =~ m{(\X)}gmxs;
   shift @chars while @chars && $chars[0] =~ m{[\h\v]}mxs;
   pop @chars   while @chars && $chars[-1] =~ m{[\h\v]}mxs;
   my $original   = join '', @chars;
   my $rearranged = join '', $coll->sort(@chars);
   return [scalar(@chars), $original] if $es->eq($original, $rearranged);
} ## end sub check_ordered ($x)

I have to admit that I don’t understand the 100% of it. In particular, I’m using two instances of Unicode::Collate:

but I didn’t really understand what the difference is.

The comparison and check is performed without caring for either case or accent. The latter should not be an issue in English, although I noticed that it gives the green light to words like access's. Go figure.

The input list for the words is taken from /usr/share/dict/words.

Running the program gives back all the words, so the filtering can be done from the shell:

$ perl perl/ /usr/share/dict/words | head

It takes a bit… but it’s hopefully correct.

It’s interesting that the longest word composed of letters only is… billowy. Today I learned that it indicates something that is full or forming large waves or swell of something (I guess water, usually).

Stay safe everybody!