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Perl Documentation

NAME

Tie::Hash, Tie::StdHash, Tie::ExtraHash - base class definitions for tied hashes

SYNOPSIS

package NewHash;
require Tie::Hash;
@ISA = qw(Tie::Hash);
sub DELETE { ... }		# Provides needed method
sub CLEAR { ... }		# Overrides inherited method
package NewStdHash;
require Tie::Hash;
@ISA = qw(Tie::StdHash);
# All methods provided by default, define
# only those needing overrides
# Accessors access the storage in %{$_[0]};
# TIEHASH should return a reference to the actual storage
sub DELETE { ... }
package NewExtraHash;
require Tie::Hash;
@ISA = qw(Tie::ExtraHash);
# All methods provided by default, define 
# only those needing overrides
# Accessors access the storage in %{$_[0][0]};
# TIEHASH should return an array reference with the first element
# being the reference to the actual storage 
sub DELETE { 
  $_[0][1]->('del', $_[0][0], $_[1]); # Call the report writer
  delete $_[0][0]->{$_[1]};		  #  $_[0]->SUPER::DELETE($_[1])
}
package main;
tie %new_hash, 'NewHash';
tie %new_std_hash, 'NewStdHash';
tie %new_extra_hash, 'NewExtraHash',
	sub {warn "Doing \U$_[1]\E of $_[2].\n"};

DESCRIPTION

This module provides some skeletal methods for hash-tying classes. See perltie for a list of the functions required in order to tie a hash to a package. The basic Tie::Hash package provides a new method, as well as methods TIEHASH, EXISTS and CLEAR. The Tie::StdHash and Tie::ExtraHash packages provide most methods for hashes described in perltie (the exceptions are UNTIE and DESTROY). They cause tied hashes to behave exactly like standard hashes, and allow for selective overwriting of methods. Tie::Hash grandfathers the new method: it is used if TIEHASH is not defined in the case a class forgets to include a TIEHASH method.

For developers wishing to write their own tied hashes, the required methods are briefly defined below. See the perltie section for more detailed descriptive, as well as example code:

Inheriting from Tie::StdHash

The accessor methods assume that the actual storage for the data in the tied hash is in the hash referenced by tied(%tiedhash). Thus overwritten TIEHASH method should return a hash reference, and the remaining methods should operate on the hash referenced by the first argument:

package ReportHash;
our @ISA = 'Tie::StdHash';
sub TIEHASH  {
  my $storage = bless {}, shift;
  warn "New ReportHash created, stored in $storage.\n";
  $storage
}
sub STORE    {
  warn "Storing data with key $_[1] at $_[0].\n";
  $_[0]{$_[1]} = $_[2]
}

Inheriting from Tie::ExtraHash

The accessor methods assume that the actual storage for the data in the tied hash is in the hash referenced by (tied(%tiedhash))->[0]. Thus overwritten TIEHASH method should return an array reference with the first element being a hash reference, and the remaining methods should operate on the hash %{ $_[0]->[0] }:

package ReportHash;
our @ISA = 'Tie::ExtraHash';
sub TIEHASH  {
  my $class = shift;
  my $storage = bless [{}, @_], $class;
  warn "New ReportHash created, stored in $storage.\n";
  $storage;
}
sub STORE    {
  warn "Storing data with key $_[1] at $_[0].\n";
  $_[0][0]{$_[1]} = $_[2]
}

The default TIEHASH method stores "extra" arguments to tie() starting from offset 1 in the array referenced by tied(%tiedhash); this is the same storage algorithm as in TIEHASH subroutine above. Hence, a typical package inheriting from Tie::ExtraHash does not need to overwrite this method.

SCALAR, UNTIE and DESTROY

The methods UNTIE and DESTROY are not defined in Tie::Hash, Tie::StdHash, or Tie::ExtraHash. Tied hashes do not require presence of these methods, but if defined, the methods will be called in proper time, see perltie.

SCALAR is only defined in Tie::StdHash and Tie::ExtraHash.

If needed, these methods should be defined by the package inheriting from Tie::Hash, Tie::StdHash, or Tie::ExtraHash. See "SCALAR" in perltie to find out what happens when SCALAR does not exist.

MORE INFORMATION

The packages relating to various DBM-related implementations (DB_File, NDBM_File, etc.) show examples of general tied hashes, as does the Config module. While these do not utilize Tie::Hash, they serve as good working examples.