Perl lcfirst Function



No much to say about the Perl lcfirst function. It takes a string, converts its first character in lowercase and than returns the new string. There are not many cases where you can use it and it was probably added as a counterpart of the ucfirst function. However, I’ll do my best to show you how to use it in applications.

Like as the other simple string functions, the syntax form is as follows:

lcfirst EXPR 
lcfirst

It returns the value of EXPR with its first character in lowercase. If the argument is a string variable, this function returns the variable with its first character lowercase, but it doesn’t alter the content of the variable. In the second syntax form, EXPR is omitted, so lcfirst function uses the special variable $_. As with other functions, you can use or omit the parentheses, as you like. If the first letter of the string expression is lowercase, the function will do nothing.


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Now consider the following example to see how Perl lcfirst works:

# initialize a string variable
my $str =  "An example about lcfirst function";
my $newStr = lcfirst $str;
print "$newStr\n";
# prints: an example about lcfirst function

Next, we are going to examine a more "sophisticated" example. Let’s suppose we have a title where all the words begin with an uppercase and we want to convert the first letter of each word in lowercase, except the first word of the title. Take a moment to examine the next code snippet:

# store the title in a scalar string variable
my $title = "A Short Story About Myself";
# split the string and place it into an array
my @title = split / /, $title;
# now let’s iterate through the array
my $flag = 0;
foreach (@title) {
  if($flag == 0)
  {
     $flag = 1;
     next;
  }
  $_ = lcfirst;
}
# convert the array to a space-delimited string
$title = join(" ", @title);
print "$title\n";

Some comments here:
  • we store the title in $title variable
  • we split the string into an array using the space delimiter
  • in the foreach loop:
    • we use $flag variable to bypass the first word of the string in order not to change it
    • we call lcfirst against $_
    • we store the new word value in $_
  • we use the join function to convert the array back into the string using the space-delimiter
  • finally, we print the string
The output for this example is the following:

A short story about myself

Don’t take this example too seriously, perhaps 2-3 lines of code are enough to do this by using regular expressions, but I wanted to show you how to use the Perl lcfirst function together with some other functions.

If you want to download the Perl lcfirst script with all the above examples included, please click here: Script download

That’s enough for now.

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Table of Contents:

A Perl Script
Install Perl
Running Perl
Perl Data Types
Perl Variables
Perl Operators
Perl Lists
Perl Arrays
    Array Size
    Array Length
Perl Hashes
Perl Statements
    Perl if
    Perl unless
    Perl switch
    Perl while
    Perl do-while
    Perl until
    Perl do-until
    Perl for
    Perl foreach
Built-in Perl Functions
    Functions by Category
        String Functions
        Regular Expressions and Pattern Matching
        List Functions
        Array Functions
        Hash Functions
        Miscellaneous Functions
    Functions in alphabetical order
        chomp
        chop
        chr
        crypt
        defined
        delete
        each
        exists
        grep
        hex
        index
        join
        keys
        lc
        lcfirst (more)
        length
        map
        oct
        ord
        pack
        pop
        push
        q
        qq
        qw
        reverse
        rindex
        scalar
        shift
        sort
        splice
        split
        sprintf
        substr
        tr
        uc
        ucfirst
        undef
        unpack
        unshift
        values

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