Perl Idioms Explained - ${\$obj->method} and @{[sort @list]}

use constant MATCHES => join '|' => qw/ a list of words /; sub method { return "something complex here" } my $obj = bless []; my %hash = qw/ this is a hash /; print "it's a hash - @{[ %hash ]}\n"; print "method result - ${ \$obj->method }\n"; print "a regexp object - ", qr[\b (?: ${\MATCHES} ) \b]x, $/; __output__ it's a hash - this is a hash method result - something complex here a regexp object - (?x-ism:\b (?: a|list|of|words ) \b)
At times you'll want to add something more complex to an interpolated quote-like than a simple variable, but the option of simply concatenating isn't always available (i.e here docs, qr//), or perhaps, desired. So what one can do is take advantage of the perl's ${} and @{} syntax. Given the above examples I'll explain how this can be done.
print "it's a hash - @{[ %hash ]}\n";
The notable part of the above statement is @{[ %hash ]}. Here we're creating an anonymous array containing the elements of the aptly named hash %hash. Now that we have an array reference the @{} will dereference it and the resulting array will be interpolated into the string. Simple as that!
print "method result - ${ \$obj->method }\n";
As you can probably guess what we're interested in is ${ \$obj->method }. Firstly, we call the method on an object in the standard fashion - $obj->method, then we create a reference to what has just been returned and finally we dereference the newly created reference and the resulting scalar is interpolated.
print "a regexp object - ", qr[\b (?: ${\MATCHES} ) \b]x, $/;
While the above may look more complex it's just the same as the previous example, but surrounded by a regexp string constructor. In this case we're looking at ${\MATCHES} which calls the constant MATCHES, this returns a string which we create a reference to, then promptly dereference and interpolate into the string, and just like that we have a constant in a regex!


One must be careful with the ${\foo} because if foo returns something that isn't a simple scalar value then you might get unexpected results. Also keep in mind that this is different from passing in a simple bareword which is largely used to distinguish between variable names and the surrounding text.


A shortcut for interpolating the return of complex expressions into a string.