wc: Word Count

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

The goal for this Programming Praxis was to implement the Unix wc function. This one took me a couple days (I haven’t had a lot of time recently) to complete, but I finally finished it and this it works pretty good. It’s not a drop in replacement for wc, but it works – a programmers solution: by programmers, for programmers.

use Switch;

#print "arg num ". $#ARGV;
if ($#ARGV == -1) {


#check first char of each argument
foreach $arg (@ARGV){
	if($arg =~ m/-.*/){
		@option = split //, $arg;
		#print "!".$arg."\n";
		push(@input, $arg);
#remove the "-" from the array

foreach $input (@input){
	if(-e $input){
	#file exists, continue
		local( *FH ) ;
		open( FH, $input ) or die "sudden flaming death\n";
		$file = do { local( $/ ) ; <FH> };
		$fileSize = (-s $input);
		die("No such file or directory");
	print "$input ";
	foreach $flag (@option){
		switch ($flag){
			case "c" {print "$fileSize "}
			case "m" {print length($file) . " "}
			case "l" {print $file =~ s/((^|\s)\S)/$1/g ." "}
			case "L" {print maxLineLength($input)." "}
			case "w" {print $file =~ s/(\n)/$1/g . " "}
			else {die ("invalid option -- $flag")}
	print "\n";

sub maxLineLength($input){
	my($thisInput) = @_;
	open(FH, $thisInput);
	$maxLine = 0;
	foreach $line (<FH>){
		if(length($line) > $maxLine){
			$maxLine = length($line);
	return $maxLine;

sub usage{

	print "Usage: wc [OPTION]... [FILE]...\n";
	print "  or:  wc [OPTION]... --files0-from=F\n";
	print "Print newline, word, and byte counts for each FILE, and a total line if\n";
	print "more than one FILE is specified.  With no FILE, or when FILE is -,\n";
	print "read standard input.\n";
	print "  -c            print the byte counts\n";
	print "  -m            print the character counts\n";
	print "  -l            print the newline counts\n";
	print "  -L, --max-line-length  print the length of the longest line\n";
	print "  -w, --words            print the word counts\n";