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What are typeglobs (useful for)?

by Lhamo_rin (Friar)
on Jun 25, 2005 at 23:50 UTC ( #469971=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Lhamo_rin has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I'm having a difficult time understanding typeglobs and when they are used. Can someone point me to a good tutorial or offer me a quick lesson in there use. Thanks.

Edited by Arunbear: Changed title from 'typeglobs', as per Monastery guidelines

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: What are typeglobs (useful for)?
by tlm (Prior) on Jun 26, 2005 at 02:42 UTC

    I have never found the documentation for typeglobs particularly clear myself, even when typeglobs were more important to routine Perl programming than they are now (references are a better way of doing many of things that typeglobs were used for before).

    My favorite introduction to typeglobs is ch. 3 of the venerable Advanced Perl Programming (1st edition, 1997), by Sriram Srinivasan. (The much awaited 2nd edition of this book, by Simon Cozens, is a complete re-write, and will not cover this topic.)

    Other sources worth consulting are the Symbol Tables section of perlmod and the Typeglobs and Filehandles section of perldata. These sources have a better treatment (than APP's) of the remaining uses for typeglobs in Perl 5.

    the lowliest monk

Re: What are typeglobs (useful for)?
by borisz (Canon) on Jun 26, 2005 at 00:15 UTC
    I use them as shortcut/alias from time to time:
    *xyz = \&X::YY::ZZ::function;
    or as a alias for a scalar's:
    my $string = 'Hi There'; local *_ = \$string; s/\s+/ /g; print $string; __OUTPUT__ Hi There
Re: What are typeglobs (useful for)?
by chas (Priest) on Jun 26, 2005 at 00:45 UTC
    I made some comments on typeglobs in 434748 (the thread is at 434739.) The O'Reilly book "Programming Perl" (The Camel Book) has info about them, and try "perldoc perldata" also.
Re: What are typeglobs (useful for)?
by Ido (Hermit) on Jun 26, 2005 at 05:54 UTC
Re: What are typeglobs (useful for)?
by ysth (Canon) on Jun 26, 2005 at 23:37 UTC
    Short answer: a typeglob is a symbol table entry; if you have (non-lexical) $foo, %foo, @foo, &foo, and format foo, they are all contained in the same typeglob *foo (along with a file/dir handle). Because filehandles have no specific sigil, you can only mention them in perl by way of the glob.

    So there are two cases where you'd use a typeglob: as a filehandle, or to muck about with the symbol table.

    The most common case of the former is to use one of the perl provided filehandles *STDIN, *STDOUT, *STDERR, *DATA. (The * is unneeded if passing to a function or builtin having a * in the prototype.) For non-perl provided filehandles, using the newer lexical filehandles (actually just a reference to a typeglob, stored in a regular scalar variable) obviates the need for a typeglob.

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