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ferreira (5993)

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Just another Brazilian Perl hacker.

Journal of ferreira (5993)

Friday April 25, 2008
07:10 AM

Being clever by half may hurt

[ #36244 ]

I know Perl may be quite irregular sometimes, and because it is irregular gotchas are easily glossed over and bite.

After some code refactoring, I ended up with a code like that:

for (@$x) {
    push @array, $_;

which immediately suggested me an equivalent expression:

push @array, @$x;

Unfortunately, this is not quite equivalent when $x is undef. Under strict, @$x bails with "Can't use an undefined value as an ARRAY reference " while for (@$x) {} works flawlessly as a loop that is never entered. So the real equivalence I was looking for is:

if ( $x ) {
    push @array, @$x;

whick is ok (as long as $x contains array refs or undefs).

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  • You can also:

    push @array, @{ $x || [] };

    It is not pretty, but anyway :-)

    Igor Sutton
    • If $x is not a long and complex expression, then readability would command to use push @array, @$x if $x;.

      Note that the really equivalent code would be this:

      $x = [] if not defined $x;
      push @array, @$x;

      Or in 5.10 parlance:

      push @array, @{ $x //= [] };

      Because the reason that the for loop doesn’t throw an error is that it because it aliases $_ to each element, rather than copying, it has to provide lvalue context on each iteration, which means it must also provide lvalue context to the containe