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The & prefix unambiguously means "this is a user-defined subroutine call coming up next". You can omit it when you are using parens after your function name and your function name doesn't conflict with a built-in, or if you've declared/defined your function before you use it and the name doesn't conflict with a built-in.

The & prefix also disables prototype checking, but you shouldn't be using prototypes in the first place, so I consider that a very minor point, but if I didn't mention it, someone else would surely raise that flag. {grin}

In our Learning Perl book, we suggest that you always use the ampersand when you're first learning Perl, because otherwise you'll be a bit befuddled when the following code doesn't work:

sub log { print STDERR "logging: ", @_, "\n"; } ... log("starting"); ... log("finishing"); ...
Yes, you're not calling your log subroutine... you're calling the built-in "logarithm" function. Oops.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

In reply to Re: What is the point of the & sigil for function refs? by merlyn
in thread What is the point of the & / ampersand sigil for function refs? by tphyahoo

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