Signal - 10 months ago 17

Python Question

I am inquiring about how to make something similar to a Python Template in reverse, using regular expressions. A template for a quadratic would look something like this:

("${**a**}x^2+${**b**}x+${**c**}")

How can one reverse this to make it instead take a string and pull out a, b, c.

The reason behind this question is I was recently trying to perform the task to get **a** and **b** like this:

`a = []`

for character in self.text:

if re.search("\d", character):

a.append(character)

else:

break

b = re.search('%s(.*)%s' % ("\d*[\w][\^]2[+-]", "\w[+-]"), self.text).group(1)

return a, b

It works fine but it's not very pythonic and it's very cumbersome. I'm sure there's a better way.

Answer

Here's a possible start on what I think you're asking for -- it uses regular expressions to tease out the quadratic constants:

```
import re
EXAMPLES = [
"6x^2",
"5x",
"4",
"x^2 - 3x - 4",
"6x^2 + 11x - 35",
"x^2 - 7x",
"2x^2 + 5x + 3",
"5x - 3",
"x^2 - 3",
]
QUADRATIC_PATTERN = r"(?:(\d*)[a-z]\^2)?" r"(?:\s*[-+]\s*)?" r"(?:(\d*)[a-z])?" r"(?:\s*[-+]\s*)?" r"(\d*)?"
for equation in EXAMPLES:
matchobj = re.search(QUADRATIC_PATTERN, equation)
if (matchobj):
print(equation, ": a =", matchobj.group(1), "b =", matchobj.group(2), "c =", matchobj.group(3))
else:
print("misread equation:", equation)
```

The `QUADRATIC_PATTERN`

is defined as a series of raw strings that Python will concatenate into one string -- this just made it easier to develop and debug. See `re.VERBOSE`

for a different/better way to do this.

The above produces:

```
6x^2 : a = 6 b = None c =
5x : a = None b = 5 c =
4 : a = None b = None c = 4
x^2 - 3x - 4 : a = b = 3 c = 4
6x^2 + 11x - 35 : a = 6 b = 11 c = 35
x^2 - 7x : a = b = 7 c =
2x^2 + 5x + 3 : a = 2 b = 5 c = 3
5x - 3 : a = None b = 5 c = 3
x^2 - 3 : a = b = None c = 3
```

Where `None`

means the term wasn't present and an empty result means the term was present but no constant was given.