Node:Comparison Operators, Next:AutoIncrement and Decrement, Previous:Numerical Operators, Up:Operators
Comparing two scalars is quite easy in Perl. The numeric
comparison operators that you would find in C, C++, or Java are
available. However, since Perl does automatic conversion between
strings and numbers for you, you must differentiate for Perl between
numeric and string comparison. For example, the scalars "532"
and "5"
could be compared two different waysbased on numeric
value or ASCII string value.
The following table shows the various comparison operators and what they
do. Note that in Perl ""
, 0
and undef
are false
and anything else as true. (This is an oversimplified definition of
true and false in Perl. See A DigressionTruth Values, for a
complete definition.)
The table below assumes you are executing $left <OP> $right
,
where <OP>
is the operator in question.
Operation  Numeric Version  String Version  Returns

less than  < 
lt  1 iff. $left is less than $right

less than or equal to  <= 
le  1 iff. $left is less than or equal to $right

greater than  > 
gt  1 iff. $left is greater than $right

greater than or equal to  >= 
ge  1 iff. $left is greater than or equal to $right

equal to  == 
eq  1 iff. $left is the same as $right

not equal to  != 
ne  1 iff. $left is not the same as $right

compare  <=> 
cmp  1 iff. $left is less than $right ,
0 iff. $left is equal to $right
1 iff. $left is greater than $right

Here are a few examples using these operators.
use strict; my $a = 5; my $b = 500; $a < $b; # evaluates to 1 $a >= $b; # evaluates to "" $a <=> $b; # evaluates to 1 my $c = "hello"; my $d = "there"; $d cmp $c; # evaluates to 1 $d ge $c; # evaluates to 1 $c cmp "hello"; # evaluates to ""