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Re: Magic

by merlyn (Sage)
on Oct 12, 2001 at 19:14 UTC ( #118497=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What does it mean for a Perl feature to be Magic?

There are two types of "magic" references in the Perl documentation.

There's a general "handwaving" magic, where the author isn't really interested in describing the (probably bizarrely complicated) mechanism by which a particular process happens. In this case, the magic is knowable, but you probably won't need to know, or even want to ask.

There's also a specific "magic" bitfield attached to every symbol table entry inside. This bitfield records unusual properties about that variable. For example, a tied variable needs to be able to announce that something unsual will happen when it is fetched or stored, so the "tied" "magic" bit is set, and checked by those accessing mechanisms.

So yes, there's "magic" you don't want to know, and there's "magic" that actually means something very specific. Hope that helps.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

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Re: Re: Magic
by mischief (Hermit) on Oct 13, 2001 at 19:08 UTC

    There's actually a third, lesser known type of magic that's not mentioned directly in the Perl reference material. This type is known as magick. It's not something you want to know about, and it's not something you can put your finger on. Only a very few people are able to fully comprehend everything about this dark and mysterious art, and those that do generally go doolally within a few days of understanding. Some people go insane even after recognizing that it even exists.

    There's a school of thought that says that magick is the life force of programming languages. They believe that if magick can be mastered, then the secrets of human understanding itself will be revealed.

    Another theory held by some is that magick is the dark side of programming, something to be left well alone and not interfered with. They claim that by attempting to control something as powerful and dark as magick, we could set loose things beyond anyone's control.

    Whatever the real nature of magick is, be warned: many have tried, and failed disastrously, to discover its workings.

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