Category Archives: miscellany

In-place editing gets safer in v5.28

In-place editing is getting much safer in v5.28. Before that, in rare circumstances it could lose data. You may have never noticed the problem and even with all the times I’ve explained it in a Perl class I haven’t really thought about it. This was first reported as early as December 2002 and after we […]

Beware of the removal of when in Perl v5.28

[Although I haven’t seen an official notice besides a git commit that reverts the changes, by popular outcry these changes won’t be in v5.28. It’s not that they won’t happen but they won’t be in v5.28. People who depend on Perl should stay vigilant. My advice in the first paragraph stands—change is coming and we […]

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.