in reply to Confession of a Perl Hacker

I too have been hacking Perl for quite some time (four years or so, although almost never as my full-time job) and have trouble with pack. I stared at this for a few, brief moments of total confusion before firing off a /msg to The Schwartz and asking for a hint.* Essentially what unpack is doing in that example is defining spacing and data types for each token in the string and returning a list of formatted tokens, which is summarily joined. Crazy stuff.

I've also found that pack/unpack are used far less than they were "back in the day."

Good luck. I look forward to reading this FAQ when you're through.

(merlyn cruelly deferred me to the perldocs for pack/unpack. In hindsight, I don't mind so much, because (I think) I actually learned something. :)