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gawk: Numeric Array Subscripts

 
 8.2 Using Numbers to Subscript Arrays
 =====================================
 
 An important aspect to remember about arrays is that _array subscripts
 are always strings_.  When a numeric value is used as a subscript, it is
 converted to a string value before being used for subscripting (⇒
 Conversion).  This means that the value of the predefined variable
 'CONVFMT' can affect how your program accesses elements of an array.
 For example:
 
      xyz = 12.153
      data[xyz] = 1
      CONVFMT = "%2.2f"
      if (xyz in data)
          printf "%s is in data\n", xyz
      else
          printf "%s is not in data\n", xyz
 
 This prints '12.15 is not in data'.  The first statement gives 'xyz' a
 numeric value.  Assigning to 'data[xyz]' subscripts 'data' with the
 string value '"12.153"' (using the default conversion value of
 'CONVFMT', '"%.6g"').  Thus, the array element 'data["12.153"]' is
 assigned the value one.  The program then changes the value of
 'CONVFMT'.  The test '(xyz in data)' generates a new string value from
 'xyz'--this time '"12.15"'--because the value of 'CONVFMT' only allows
 two significant digits.  This test fails, because '"12.15"' is different
 from '"12.153"'.
 
    According to the rules for conversions (⇒Conversion), integer
 values always convert to strings as integers, no matter what the value
 of 'CONVFMT' may happen to be.  So the usual case of the following
 works:
 
      for (i = 1; i <= maxsub; i++)
          do something with array[i]
 
    The "integer values always convert to strings as integers" rule has
 an additional consequence for array indexing.  Octal and hexadecimal
 constants (⇒Nondecimal-numbers) are converted internally into
 numbers, and their original form is forgotten.  This means, for example,
 that 'array[17]', 'array[021]', and 'array[0x11]' all refer to the same
 element!
 
    As with many things in 'awk', the majority of the time things work as
 you would expect them to.  But it is useful to have a precise knowledge
 of the actual rules, as they can sometimes have a subtle effect on your
 programs.
 
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