Category Archives: miscellany

Apple recommends installing your own perl

Apple recommends installing your own perl (or python or ruby) for your private development to not interfere with the work the bundled perl (or python or ruby) does. In Item 110. Compile and install your own perls. we recommended the same thing.

Make bitwise operators always use numeric context

Most Perl operators force their context on the values. For example, the numeric addition operator, +, forces its values to be numbers. To “add” strings, you use a separate operator, the string concatenation operator, . (which looks odd at the end of a sentence). The bitwise operators, however, look at the value to determine their […]

Use a computed label with loop controllers

Not sure which loop you want to break out of? Perl v5.18 makes that easy with computed labels. The value you give next, last, and redo no longer has to be a literal. You could already do this with goto, but now you can give the loop controllers an expression.

In v5.20, -F implies -a implies -n

Perl was once known for its one-liners in its sysadmin heydays. People would pass around lists of these one liners, many of which replaced complicated pipelines that glued together various unix utilities to do some impressive system maintenance.

Declare packages outside of their block

Perl v5.14 gets a step closer to a saner way to declare classes with its new package NAME BLOCK syntax that lets you easily group everything that goes in a package.

The Perl 5.12 yada yada operator

Perl v5.12 adds a placeholder operator, …, called the yada yada operator, after an episode of Seinfeld where the interesting parts of the story are replaced with “yada yada yada”.

Create your own dualvars

Perl’s basic data type is the scalar, which takes its name from the mathematical term for “single item”. However, the scalar is really two things. You probably know that a scalar can be either a number or a string, or a number that looks the same as its string, or a string that can be […]

Turn off autovivification when you don’t want it

Autovivification, although a great feature, might bite you when you don’t expect it. I explained this feature in Understand autovivification, but I didn’t tell you that there’s a way to control it and even turn it off completely. The autovivification pragma, which you can get from CPAN, lets you decide how autovivification works, or doesn’t […]

Set the line number and filename of string evals

Errors from a string eval can be tricky to track down since perl doesn’t tell you where the eval was. It treats each of the string evals as a separate, virtual file because it doesn’t remember where the string argument came from. Since perl compiles that during the run phase (see Know the phases of […]

Override die with END or CORE::GLOBAL::die

Perl lets you override the effects of warn and die by redefining the signals that Perl sends when you call those functions. You probably don’t want to use the signal from die, though, since it might mean a couple of different things. You handle these special signals by setting values in the %SIG hash just […]