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I found this module when I was looking for a solution to easily and intelligently format some data in text-based tables in an e-mail message. After a lot of wrestling, I'm here to report that Data::ShowTable was not a good choice for this. Here's why:

  • First, It should have a clue that the module hasn't been updated since August, 1997.
  • I noticed that several standard column types weren't supported that appeared to fit in with author's intended support of SQL character types in this capacity. The author's email address bounced when I sent a suggestion to update this area.
  • The interface is at least partly broken. I was trying to use a syntax that was documented as valid, but was getting "not a CODE ref" errors, even though I wasn't using CODE refs. I switched to an equivalent syntax and it worked.
  • My most substantial complaint against the module is that it insists on printing the results to STDOUT. In an era where using templates is common, this seems archiac to me. I hacked up support this to get my project done. A patch for this is here.

Since then, I've learned about a module named Text::FormatTable. If I need to address the same problem space instead, I'll try this module instead.

To it's credit Data::ShowTable seems well written and has some decent features. However, after my various annoyances with it, I've come to feel it's no longer being developed by anyone because there is a better solution out there.


In reply to Data::ShowTable by markjugg

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