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joinlines proto



joinlines -- join input text files line by line.


joinlines list1 [list2]


List of input text files to be joined. It is an error if a file does not exist. The special file "STDIN" may be used to read from the terminal, redirected input, or a pipe.
Optional second list of input text files to be combined with the first list. This only applies when two lists are specified on the command line otherwise this parameter is ignored.
output = "STDOUT"
Output filename. The result of joining the input lines is appended to the specified file. The special file "STDOUT" selects the standard output stream, which is usually the terminal but which may be redirected.
delim = " "
The delimiter placed between joined input lines. The default is a space (note that this will not be visible when viewed with eparam ).
missing = "Missing"
This string is substituted for missing lines when going beyond the end of shorter input files.
maxchars = 161
Maximum number of characters in output lines. Longer output lines will be truncated and a warning may be given. Note that this number always includes the final newline character.
shortest = yes
Stop at the end of the shortest file? If the input files are of unequal number of lines then this option provides for stopping at the end of the shortest file or the end of the longest file. In the latter case the string specified by the parameter missing is used for input from the shorter files.
verbose = yes
Warnings are printed to the standard error stream giving the number of lines exceeding the maximum number of output characters, the number of lines exceeding the IRAF line length limit, and the number of files completed in case the files are of unequal length. If verbose is no then no warnings are printed.


The task joinlines reads lines from each of the input text files and joins them into one line separated by the specified delimiter. This is useful for making multicolumn files from individual files. The output may be directed to the standard output, the default, or appended to a file.

The list of input files may be given in either list1 or with list2 . The second list is only used if two arguments are given on the command line. This feature is provided for compatibility with an earlier version of this task which only joined two files given separately.

There is no limit to the possible number of characters per output line but the parameter maxchars may be used to truncate long lines. This can be important because many IRAF tasks read files a line at a time with a fixed sized line buffer. Also other tasks and host programs (for example UNIX/vi) have line limits as well. If an input line exceeds these limits incorrect results may occur. The IRAF limit is SZ_LINE characters (see hlib$iraf.h) and so the default for the maximum number of output characters is set at the current value. One may chose to go beyond this limit.

If the input files do not all have the same number of lines then there are two courses of action. If the shortest parameter is set then the join operation is terminated with the last line from the shortest file. If it is not set then the string from the parameter missing is substituted for input from the shorter files until the end of the longest file is reached. Note that the delimiter will still be placed between input lines even when such lines are missing.

There are three types of warnings which may be produced if the verbose flag is set. These are warnings for the number of lines exceeding the specified maximum number of characters resulting in truncated output, the number of lines exceeding the IRAF line buffer limit, and a warning when some input files are shorter than others. The warnings are printed on the standard error stream so that redirection of the standard output will still leave the warnings on the user's terminal. To redirect the warnings one must include the standard error stream in the redirection syntax. See the examples for how to do this.


1. Join the two files "names" and "titles", redirecting the output into a third file "personnel_file".

	cl> joinlines names titles > personnel_file

2. Join a set of magnitudes given in separate files and place the output in "allmags". Separate the columns by tabs.

	cl> joinlines mags* out=allmags delim="	"

3. Join a set of files into long lines and redirect the error output to a log file. Set missing lines to INDEF value.

	cl> joinlines tables* out=jointbls miss=INDEF short- ver+ >& log

4. Join the second column from the output of a program to the previous results. This illustrates the use of pipes.

	cl> myprog | fields STDIN 2 | joinlines last STDIN > new




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