Look ahead and Look behind in perl

5.6.14
With the look-ahead and look-behind constructs ,you can "roll your own" zero-width assertions to fit your needs. You can look forward or backward in the string being processed, and you can require that a pattern match succeed (positive assertion) or fail (negative assertion) there.
Every extended pattern is written as a parenthetical group with a question mark as the first character. The notation for the look-arounds is fairly mnemonic, but there are some other, experimental patterns that are similar, so it is important to get all the characters in the right order.
(?=pattern)
is a positive look-ahead assertion
(?!pattern)
is a negative look-ahead assertion
(?<=pattern)
is a positive look-behind assertion
(?<!pattern)
is a negative look-behind assertion
EXAMPLES
Look-Ahead:
echo $mytmp2
uvw_abc uvw_def uvw_acb
Positive:
echo $mytmp2 | perl -pe 's/uvw_(?=(abc|def))/xyz_/g'
xyz_abc xyz_def uvw_acb
Description: replace every occurance of uvw_ with xyz_ where uvw_ followed by abc or def
Negative:
echo $mytmp2 | perl -pe 's/uvw_(?!(abc|def))/xyz_/g'
uvw_abc uvw_def xyz_acb
Description: replace every occurance of uvw_ with xyz_ where uvw_ is not followed by abc or def
Look-Behind:
echo $mytmp
abc_uvw def_uvw acb_uvw
Positive:
echo $mytmp | perl -pe 's/(?<=(abc|def))_uvw/_xyz/g'
abc_xyz def_xyz acb_uvw
Description: replace every occurance of _uvw with _xyz where _uvw is preceeded by abc or def
Negative:
echo $mytmp | perl -pe 's/(?<!(abc|def))_uvw/_xyz/g'
abc_uvw def_uvw acb_xyz
Description: replace every occurance of _uvw with _xyz where _uvw is not preceeded by abc or def

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