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Re^2: Hidden features of Perl

by educated_foo (Vicar)
on Jun 22, 2009 at 14:36 UTC ( #773646=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Hidden features of Perl
in thread Hidden features of Perl

W(hat|TF) does this have to do with "imperative" or "computer science?" It seems non-obvious to me that a magic filehandle called "DATA" reads everything in the current file after a line containing only "__DATA__". Perl has a lot of non-obvious features, and that thread lists quite a few of them.

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Re^3: Hidden features of Perl
by vxp (Pilgrim) on Jun 22, 2009 at 20:24 UTC

    It seems that you are arguing semantics, which isn't the point of this post.. post whatever _you_, personally, consider a "hidden feature". Don't worry about what others consider esoteric. :)

Re^3: Hidden features of Perl
by Jenda (Abbot) on Jun 22, 2009 at 19:23 UTC

    Most of the stuff is something that looks esoteric to someone who was taught C or Fortran or who taught him/her-self VB and is so used to imperative programming, that he/she cannot think outside that old tiny box. The people that find references hard and higher order functions rocket science.

    And the DATA filehandle is no more esoteric than a print statement. A bit unusual maybe, non-obvious probably, but esoteric? That's a very big stretch of the meaning of the word.

    Enoch was right!
    Enjoy the last years of Rome.

      (Pre-edited to protect silly peoples' silly sensibilities.)

      You're clearly trying to (pee) on that thread by saying that Real Computer Scientists who Love Functional Programming find it all beneath them. I could go on and on asking what being self-taught or being an (oh my (furry) (Gosh)!) imperative programmer has to do with various entries (try "Binary "x" is the repetition operator:"), but it would probably be a waste of time in this programmer (disk)-size war.

      And the DATA filehandle is no more esoteric than a print statement.
      This is so deliberately obtuse that I don't know how to respond. Let's try a short play:
      You: John, please print this.
      John the Secretary: Okay
      You: John, does DATA refer to: (1) all the lines after __DATA__ in the current file; (2) all the lines after DATA; (3) a file named DATA; (4) none of the above?
      John: ???
      (Fruit). Sometimes I know which words to chant for approval, but just can't bring myself to say them.

        We can all make things look complicated.

        You: John, does "print" refer to: (1) putting ink on paper; (2) adding some data to an output buffer (possibly encoding it first) that will, when flushed, be pushed into an output stream that will probably result in its being stored in a file or displayed on a computer monitor, but is, in fact, highly unlikely to involve ink or paper?

        John: ???

        DATA is not a standard feature of modern programming languages, but it's really not that strange in the grand scheme of things. There have been plenty of other languages that do provide equivalent features, right back to the good old 8-bit BASICs found in every techie home throughout the 1980s.

        And, more to the point, __DATA__ is a pretty common feature in the Perl world. It's a standard tool in nearly all the test suites I've ever seen, both on CPAN and in proprietary internal code. I'd go so far as to say that if I was giving a job interview to someone who claimed to be an experienced Perl developer, but didn't have the faintest inkling that __DATA__ had a special meaning, then I'd fail them on the spot.

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