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Interesting, the only Google result for "uninitialized value in subroutine exit" (with quotes) is currently this thread. Here's an SSCCE to reproduce:

#!perl -w use warnings; use strict; use CGI; print "$] $CGI::VERSION\n"; sub Foo::get_end_date { return undef } my $pa = bless {}, 'Foo'; print CGI->new->textfield(-name=>"end_date", -default=>substr($pa->get_end_date(),0,10)), "\n"; __END__ 5.026000 4.36 Use of uninitialized value in subroutine exit at .../CGI.pm line 472. <input type="text" name="end_date" />

And a minimal test case is

$ perl -wle 'sub x{@_} print x(substr undef,0)'

On Perl 5.6 thru 5.14, this dies with "Use of uninitialized value in substr at -e line 1. Modification of a read-only value attempted at -e line 1." (which also doesn't seem quite right to me), whereas on Perls 5.16 thru 5.26 it gives the warning "Use of uninitialized value in subroutine exit at -e line 1.". A bisect shows the behavior changed with commit a74fb2cdc8f2. <update> I'm not an expert on the internals so I don't know if that commit is a red herring, or if the change was an unintended side effect of that commit, there is another commit that explains the change better, or something else. See replies. </update> Perl v5.16 was also the release of the "substr lvalue revamp", so I suspect a lot of code related to substr was modified. The release notes also say:

Passing a substring of a read-only value or a typeglob to a function (potential lvalue context) no longer causes an immediate "Can't coerce" or "Modification of a read-only value" error. That error occurs only if the passed value is assigned to.

Like LanX I suspect the whole thing has to do with the fact that substr is magical and returns a special lvalue that can modify the original string, in combination with the elements of @_ being aliases to the original parameters (Update before posting: as also said here by dave_the_m, who has deep knowledge of the internals). <update> I don't know what's going on at subroutine exit that would trigger the warning, but this issue may even be worth mentioning on P5P. See replies. </update> A few more comments on your code:

  • You've already said that you changed your code to avoid this in the first place; my suggestion would be to add a method to your API next to get_end_date (or a parameter to that method) that returns the 10-character string you want to display (I assume YYYY-MM-DD or something similar), perhaps even using "proper" methods for date/time handling like the core Time::Piece, the powerful DateTime, or functions provided by the database.

  • Perhaps you want to consider avoiding calling functions in the arguments to CGI methods in general, there have even been some vulnerabilities related to that, although I don't want to spread any FUD here - substr will probably never return anything other than a single value, and your code may very well not use the affected pattern anywhere, I'm just pointing this out as something to keep in mind.

  • Personally, I like to code defensively and sometimes will intentionally write ''.substr(...) to force the return value to be turned into a regular string if I suspect a risk of strange things happening with the lvalue.

  • I suspect you have -w on your shebang line. Note that the Perl documentation includes a section "What's wrong with * w* and $^W" (emphasis mine):

    Although very useful, the big problem with using -w on the command line to enable warnings is that it is all or nothing. Take the typical scenario when you are writing a Perl program. Parts of the code you will write yourself, but it's very likely that you will make use of pre-written Perl modules. If you use the -w flag in this case, you end up enabling warnings in pieces of code that you haven't written. ...

    I recommend you just use warnings; in your code and remove the -w from the shebang line, there may be other places where using -w (or $^W) may trigger warnings in code you don't have control over.


In reply to Re: "uninitialized value in subroutine exit" warning from CGI.pm by haukex
in thread "uninitialized value in subroutine exit" warning from CGI.pm by dwmcewan

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