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autovivified hash key with foreach $x ( @{$h{a}} ) {}

by Danny (Pilgrim)
on May 17, 2024 at 17:25 UTC ( [id://11159506]=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Danny has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

perl -we 'my %h; my @x = ( @{$h{a}} )'
gives 'Use of uninitialized value $h{"a"} in array dereference at -e line 1.'

which seems desirable, but

perl -wE 'my %h; foreach $x ( @{$h{a}} ) { say $x }; exists $h{a} and +print "true\n"'
creates the $h{a} key which seems kinda bad. Why is the foreach context treating ( @{$h{a}} ) differently?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: autovivified hash key with foreach $x ( @{$h{a}} ) {}
by Anonymous Monk on May 17, 2024 at 17:34 UTC
    Because the second is lvalue context, where autoviv happens.
      I see. Thanks.
Re: autovivified hash key with foreach $x ( @{$h{a}} ) {}. (Update x2)
by LanX (Saint) on May 17, 2024 at 17:45 UTC
    Probably because of the aliasing of $x


    Here another kind of aliasing with the same "weirdness"

    $ perl -wE 'my %h; sub tst{ say @_ }; tst ( @{$h{a}} ); exists $h{a} a +nd print "true\n"' true

    I seem to remember we already had a similar discussion here not long ago...


    Now I remember, because of the aliasing, it's also an lvalue, i.e. it's potentially possible to assign to $x and consequently create the key.

    But the autovivification happens at the moment of aliasing, and not at the moment of assignment, because it's too complicated to implement.

    And yes, we had this discussion some month ago, I'll try to find the thread.

    Bottomline was that it's very complicated to cover all edge cases, and the devs want to keep the code simple.


    Compare unexpected modify hash in a distance with grep { $_ }

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
    see Wikisyntax for the Monastery

      because of the aliasing, it's also an lvalue

      More precisely, because a modifiable alias is required.

      because it's too complicated to implement.

      I don't think so. We already do that for hash elements, and the same approach could be used to handle more complicated cases. It's a question of performance.

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