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Quite simply, all classes in perl inherit from UNIVERSAL. UNIVERSAL implements can.

This is an interesting statement. The index of my Camel book (2nd ed) does not list can at all and contains only one entry for UNIVERSAL, which points to page 293, where I find the following quote (emphasis mine):

If neither a method nor an AUTOLOAD routine is found in @ISA, then one last, desperate try is made for the method (or an AUTOLOAD routine) in the special predefined class called UNIVERSAL. This package does not initially contain any definitions (although see CPAN for some), but you may place your "last-ditch" methods there.

This not only doesn't support your assertion but seems on the face of it to directly contradict what you were saying. How can UNIVERSAL implement can, and require that all derived objects (i.e., all objects) not break that, if UNIVERSAL does not initially contain any definitions? Further, NOTHING is said here about any obligations that any module has to provide or support any particular method.

Granted, what I have is not the latest edition, but none of the reviews I have read of the third edition have said anything about the new edition containing important information about fundamental changes to the language that every Perl programmer must know, nor is it advertised that way by the author or by the publisher. It's simply the next edition of the book, no more. I did see some reviews praising the addition of numerous new examples, but nothing that seemed to indicate to me that if I program according to the second edition I'll break things. To be perfectly honest, I've got a lot of things marked in my camel (not least, little tabs on the sides of the pages to mark where certain sections start so I can quickly flip e.g. to the section on special variables), and not wanting to redo all of that right away I was going to wait for the fourth edition, which hopefully will cover Perl6, before upgrading. Perhaps you could quote me just the paragraph of the 3rd edition that explains why every object is required to support the can method.

update: In the light of morning, the next paragraph seems harsh to me. I didn't mean it that way. I'm not going to edit it out, though, because the reply wouldn't make (as much) sense then. (And chromatic, I recognize your reputation, but you hadn't yet come out to say anything in the thread when I wrote this.)

I'm interested in hearing about the merits of can, the practical reasons why it's a useful thing for modules to support, even if the module author does not personally use it. I'm somewhat less interested in hearing you just tell me (in so many words) "This is just required". I might accept that coming from someone who is on a first-name basis with Larry's wife, but I am dubious as to what authority you have to make up requirements for all Perl modules to adhere to.


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In reply to Re: What is this can() and why is breaking it (un)acceptable? by jonadab
in thread Why breaking can() is acceptable by tilly

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