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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Thursday September 08, 2005
12:22 PM

Spot the Bug

[ #26645 ]

Late at night, lots of coding and a little test program confused me for a moment until I looked at it again and almost laughed myself silly. I needed to test that I could read individual records in a file. The records are separated by a lone dot "." appearing by itself on a line. My intention was to open the file, read in individual records, remove that trailing dot and visually inspect the records one by one. Spot the bug:


use strict;
use warnings;

my $file = shift || die "No file, dummy!";
open FH, "<", $file or die "Could not open ($file) for reading: $!";
local $/ = "\n.\n";

while (defined (my $record = <FH>)) {
    chomp $record;
    print $record;

Moral of this story: don't code while tired.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • I stared at it and stared at it but didn't see it until I actually tried the code. Then it hit me; "$/ has been modified so it's hanging at the <STDIN>!" Thanks for a very fun lunchtime distraction.

    use strict;
    use warnings;

    my $file = shift || die "No file, dummy!";
    open FH, "<", $file or die "Could not open ($file) for reading: $!";
    my @records;

      local $/ = "\n.\n";
      chomp(@records = <FH>);

    for my $record (@records) {
        print $record;

  • Hehe. I did spot it without running the code – after I stepped out of the box and started thinking about what things it does other than its primary goal. It took about three minutes of staring.

    I can’t think of a solution that is compact, non-obfuscatory, and avoids redundancy (ie setting $/ twice) all at once. The best I can do is

    while( 1 ) {
        do {
           local $/ = "\n.\n";
           my $record = <FH>;
           last if no

    • this should be a property of the filehandle, not a global variable.

      Perl 6, baby, Perl 6.