Why does the following Perl script give an incorrect field count?

#!/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;
use Data::Dumper;

my $str = "a\t\t\tb\t\t\t\t6\t\t";
my @fields = split( /\t/, $str);
my $n = 0;
print Dumper @fields;
while ($fields[$n]) {
 print "$n: $fields[$n]\n";
 $n++;
}
print "Field count: " . scalar(@fields) . "\n";
print "done!\n";

Simply because split() function discards trailing null characters when splitting argument string. There are two ways to avoid this:

1. Force the split() function to map the results to a predefined number of fields, e.g.

(split( /\t/, $str))[0..8];

2. Append the string to be parsed with a non-delimiter character, e.g. newline, and then remove it:

$str = "$str" . "\n";
my @array = split( /\t/, $str);
splice(@array, $#array, 1)
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