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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       perltrap - Perl traps for the unwary

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       The biggest trap of all is forgetting to "use warnings" or
       use the -w switch; see perllexwarn and perlrun. The second
       biggest trap is not making your entire program runnable
       under "use strict".  The third biggest trap is not reading
       the list of changes in this version of Perl; see

       Awk Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Accustomed awk users should take special note of the following:

       o   A Perl program executes only once, not once for each
           input line.  You can do an implicit loop with "-n" or

       o   The English module, loaded via

               use English;

           allows you to refer to special variables (like $/)
           with names (like $RS), as though they were in awk; see
           perlvar for details.

       o   Semicolons are required after all simple statements in
           Perl (except at the end of a block).  Newline is not a
           statement delimiter.

       o   Curly brackets are required on "if"s and "while"s.

       o   Variables begin with "$", "@" or "%" in Perl.

       o   Arrays index from 0.  Likewise string positions in
           substr() and index().

       o   You have to decide whether your array has numeric or
           string indices.

       o   Hash values do not spring into existence upon mere

       o   You have to decide whether you want to use string or
           numeric comparisons.

       o   Reading an input line does not split it for you.  You
           get to split it to an array yourself.  And the split()
           operator has different arguments than awk's.

       o   The current input line is normally in $_, not $0.  It
           generally does not have the newline stripped.  ($0 is
           the name of the program executed.)  See perlvar.

       o   $<digit> does not refer to fields--it refers to substrings
 matched by the last match pattern.

       o   The print() statement does not add field and record
           separators unless you set $, and "$
           $OFS and $ORS if you're using the English module.

       o   You must open your files before you print to them.

       o   The range operator is "..", not comma.  The comma
           operator works as in C.

       o   The match operator is "=~", not "~".  ("~" is the
           one's complement operator, as in C.)

       o   The exponentiation operator is "**", not "^".  "^" is
           the XOR operator, as in C.  (You know, one could get
           the feeling that awk is basically incompatible with

       o   The concatenation operator is ".", not the null
           string.  (Using the null string would render "/pat/
           /pat/" unparsable, because the third slash would be
           interpreted as a division operator--the tokenizer is
           in fact slightly context sensitive for operators like
           "/", "?", and ">".  And in fact, "." itself can be the
           beginning of a number.)

       o   The "next", "exit", and "continue" keywords work differently.

       o   The following variables work differently:

                 Awk       Perl
                 ARGC      scalar @ARGV (compare with $#ARGV)
                 ARGV[0]   $0
                 FILENAME  $ARGV
                 FNR       $. - something
                 FS        (whatever you like)
                 NF        $#Fld, or some such
                 NR        $.
                 OFMT      $#
                 OFS       $,
                 ORS       $                 RLENGTH   length($&)
                 RS        $/
                 RSTART    length($`)
                 SUBSEP    $;

       o   You cannot set $RS to a pattern, only a string.

       o   When in doubt, run the awk construct through a2p and
           see what it gives you.

       C/C++ Traps

       Cerebral C and C++ programmers should take note of the

       o   Curly brackets are required on "if"'s and "while"'s.

       o   You must use "elsif" rather than "else if".

       o   The "break" and "continue" keywords from C become in
           Perl "last" and "next", respectively.  Unlike in C,
           these do not work within a "do { } while" construct.
           See "Loop Control" in perlsyn.

       o   There's no switch statement.  (But it's easy to build
           one on the fly, see "Basic BLOCKs and Switch Statements"
 in perlsyn)

       o   Variables begin with "$", "@" or "%" in Perl.

       o   Comments begin with "#", not "/*" or "//".  Perl may
           interpret C/C++ comments as division operators, unterminated
 regular expressions or the defined-or operator.

       o   You can't take the address of anything, although a
           similar operator in Perl is the backslash, which creates
 a reference.

       o   "ARGV" must be capitalized.  $ARGV[0] is C's
           "argv[1]", and "argv[0]" ends up in $0.

       o   System calls such as link(), unlink(), rename(),  etc.
           return nonzero for success, not 0. (system(), however,
           returns zero for success.)

       o   Signal handlers deal with signal names, not numbers.
           Use "kill -l" to find their names on your system.

       Sed Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Seasoned sed programmers should take note of the following:

       o   A Perl program executes only once, not once for each
           input line.  You can do an implicit loop with "-n" or

       o   Backreferences in substitutions use "$" rather than

       o   The pattern matching metacharacters "(", ")", and "|"
           do not have backslashes in front.

       o   The range operator is "...", rather than comma.

       Shell Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Sharp shell programmers should take note of the following:

       o   The backtick operator does variable interpolation
           without regard to the presence of single quotes in the

       o   The backtick operator does no translation of the
           return value, unlike csh.

       o   Shells (especially csh) do several levels of substitution
 on each command line.  Perl does substitution in
           only certain constructs such as double quotes, backticks,
 angle brackets, and search patterns.

       o   Shells interpret scripts a little bit at a time.  Perl
           compiles the entire program before executing it
           (except for "BEGIN" blocks, which execute at compile

       o   The arguments are available via @ARGV, not $1, $2,

       o   The environment is not automatically made available as
           separate scalar variables.

       Perl Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Practicing Perl Programmers should take note of the following:

       o   Remember that many operations behave differently in a
           list context than they do in a scalar one.  See perldata
 for details.

       o   Avoid barewords if you can, especially all lowercase
           ones.  You can't tell by just looking at it whether a
           bareword is a function or a string.  By using quotes
           on strings and parentheses on function calls, you
           won't ever get them confused.

       o   You cannot discern from mere inspection which builtins
           are unary operators (like chop() and chdir()) and
           which are list operators (like print() and  unlink()).
           (Unless prototyped, user-defined subroutines can only
           be list operators, never unary ones.)  See perlop and

       o   People have a hard time remembering that some
           functions default to $_, or @ARGV, or whatever, but
           that others which you might expect to do not.

       o   The <FH> construct is not the name of the filehandle,
           it is a readline operation on that handle.  The data
           read is assigned to $_ only if the file read is the
           sole condition in a while loop:

               while (<FH>)      { }
               while (defined($_ = <FH>)) { }..
               <FH>;  # data discarded!

       o   Remember not to use "=" when you need "=~"; these two
           constructs are quite different:

               $x =  /foo/;
               $x =~ /foo/;

       o   The "do {}" construct isn't a real loop that you can
           use loop control on.

       o   Use "my()" for local variables whenever you can get
           away with it (but see perlform for where you can't).
           Using "local()" actually gives a local value to a
           global variable, which leaves you open to unforeseen
           side-effects of dynamic scoping.

       o   If you localize an exported variable in a module, its
           exported value will not change.  The local name
           becomes an alias to a new value but the external name
           is still an alias for the original.

       Perl4 to Perl5 Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Practicing Perl4 Programmers should take note of the following
 Perl4-to-Perl5 specific traps.

       They're crudely ordered according to the following list:

       Discontinuance, Deprecation, and BugFix traps
           Anything that's been fixed as a perl4 bug, removed as
           a perl4 feature or deprecated as a perl4 feature with
           the intent to encourage usage of some other perl5 feature.

       Parsing Traps
           Traps that appear to stem from the new parser.

       Numerical Traps
           Traps having to do with numerical or mathematical

       General data type traps
           Traps involving perl standard data types.
       Context Traps - scalar, list contexts
           Traps related to context within lists, scalar statements/declarations.

       Precedence Traps
           Traps related to the precedence of parsing, evaluation,
 and execution of code.

       General Regular Expression Traps using s///, etc.
           Traps related to the use of pattern matching.

       Subroutine, Signal, Sorting Traps
           Traps related to the use of signals and signal handlers,
 general subroutines, and sorting, along with
           sorting subroutines.

       OS Traps
           OS-specific traps.

       DBM Traps
           Traps specific to the use of "dbmopen()", and specific
           dbm implementations.

       Unclassified Traps
           Everything else.

       If you find an example of a conversion trap that is not
       listed here, please submit it to <perlbug@perl.org> for
       inclusion.  Also note that at least some of these can be
       caught with the "use warnings" pragma or the -w switch.

       Discontinuance, Deprecation, and BugFix traps

       Anything that has been discontinued, deprecated, or fixed
       as a bug from perl4.

       * Discontinuance
           Symbols starting with "_" are no longer forced into
           package main, except for $_ itself (and @_, etc.).

               package test;
               $_legacy = 1;

               package main;
               print "legacy is ",$_legacy,"0;

               # perl4 prints: $_legacy is 1
               # perl5 prints: $_legacy is

       * Deprecation
           Double-colon is now a valid package separator in a
           variable name.  Thus these behave differently in perl4
           vs. perl5, because the packages don't exist.
               print "$a::$b::$c ";
               print "$var::abc::xyz0;

               # perl4 prints: 1::2::3 4::abc::xyz
               # perl5 prints: 3

           Given that "::" is now the preferred package delimiter,
 it is debatable whether this should be classed
           as a bug or not.  (The older package delimiter, ' ,is
           used here)

               $x = 10 ;
               print "x=${'x}0 ;

               # perl4 prints: x=10
               # perl5 prints: Can't find string  terminator  "'"
anywhere before EOF

           You can avoid this problem, and remain compatible with
           perl4, if you always explicitly include the package

               $x = 10 ;
               print "x=${main'x}0 ;

           Also see precedence traps, for parsing $:.

       * BugFix
           The second and third arguments of "splice()" are now
           evaluated in scalar context (as the Camel says) rather
           than list context.

               sub  sub1{return(0,2) }          # return a 2-element list
               sub sub2{ return(1,2,3)}        # return a  3-element list
               @a1 = ("a","b","c","d","e");
               @a2 = splice(@a1,&sub1,&sub2);
               print join(' ',@a2),"0;

               # perl4 prints: a b
               # perl5 prints: c d e

       * Discontinuance
           You can't do a "goto" into a block that is optimized
           away.  Darn.

               goto marker1;

                   print "Here I is!0;

               # perl4 prints: Here I is!
               #  perl5 errors: Can't "goto" into the middle of a
foreach loop
       * Discontinuance
           It is no longer syntactically legal to use whitespace
           as the name of a variable, or as a delimiter for any
           kind of quote construct.  Double darn.

               $a = ("foo bar");
               $b = q baz ;
               print "a is $a, b is $b0;

               # perl4 prints: a is foo bar, b is baz
               # perl5 errors: Bareword found where operator  expected

       * Discontinuance
           The archaic while/if BLOCK BLOCK syntax is no longer

               if { 1 } {
                   print "True!";
               else {
                   print "False!";

               # perl4 prints: True!
               #  perl5  errors:  syntax error at test.pl line 1,
near "if {"

       * BugFix
           The "**" operator now binds more tightly than unary
           minus.  It was documented to work this way before, but

               print -4**2,"0;

               # perl4 prints: 16
               # perl5 prints: -16

       * Discontinuance
           The meaning of "foreach{}" has changed slightly when
           it is iterating over a list which is not an array.
           This used to assign the list to a temporary array, but
           no longer does so (for efficiency).  This means that
           you'll now be iterating over the actual values, not
           over copies of the values.  Modifications to the loop
           variable can change the original values.

               @list = ('ab','abc','bcd','def');
               foreach $var (grep(/ab/,@list)){
                   $var = 1;
               print (join(':',@list));

               # perl4 prints: ab:abc:bcd:def
               # perl5 prints: 1:1:bcd:def
           To retain Perl4 semantics you need to assign your list
           explicitly to a temporary array and then iterate over
           that.  For example, you might need to change

               foreach $var (grep(/ab/,@list)){


               foreach $var (@tmp = grep(/ab/,@list)){

           Otherwise changing $var will clobber the values of
           @list.  (This most often happens when you use $_ for
           the loop variable, and call subroutines in the loop
           that don't properly localize $_.)

       * Discontinuance
           "split" with no arguments now behaves like "split ' '"
           (which doesn't return an initial null field if $_
           starts with whitespace), it used to behave like "split
           /" (which does).

               $_ = ' hi mom';
               print join(':', split);

               # perl4 prints: :hi:mom
               # perl5 prints: hi:mom

       * BugFix
           Perl 4 would ignore any text which was attached to an
           -e switch, always taking the code snippet from the
           following arg.  Additionally, it would silently accept
           an -e switch without a following arg.  Both of these
           behaviors have been fixed.

               perl -e'print "attached to -e"'  'print  "separate

               # perl4 prints: separate arg
               # perl5 prints: attached to -e

               perl -e

               # perl4 prints:
               # perl5 dies: No code specified for -e.

       * Discontinuance
           In Perl 4 the return value of "push" was undocumented,
           but it was actually the last value being pushed onto
           the target list.  In Perl 5 the return value of "push"
           is documented, but has changed, it is the number of
           elements in the resulting list.

               @x = ('existing');
               print push(@x, 'first new', 'second new');
               # perl4 prints: second new
               # perl5 prints: 3

       * Deprecation
           Some error messages will be different.

       * Discontinuance
           In Perl 4, if in list context the delimiters to the
           first argument of "split()" were "??", the result
           would be placed in @_ as well as being returned.
           Perl 5 has more respect for your subroutine arguments.

       * Discontinuance
           Some bugs may have been inadvertently removed.  :-)

       Parsing Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Perl4-to-Perl5 traps from having to do with parsing.

       * Parsing
           Note the space between . and =

               $string . = "more string";
               print $string;

               # perl4 prints: more string
               # perl5 prints: syntax error at - line 1, near  ".

       * Parsing
           Better parsing in perl 5

               sub foo {}
               print("hello, world0);

               # perl4 prints: hello, world
               # perl5 prints: syntax error

       * Parsing
           "if  it looks like a function, it is a function" rule.

               ($foo == 1) ? "is one0 : "is zero0;

               # perl4 prints: is zero
               # perl5 warns: "Useless use of a constant in  void
context" if using -w

       * Parsing
           String interpolation of the $#array construct differs
           when braces are to used around the name.

               @a = (1..3);
               print "${#a}";
               # perl4 prints: 2
               # perl5 fails with syntax error

               @ = (1..3);
               print "$#{a}";

               # perl4 prints: {a}
               # perl5 prints: 2

       * Parsing
           When perl sees "map {" (or "grep {"), it has to guess
           whether the "{" starts a BLOCK or a hash reference. If
           it guesses wrong, it will report a syntax error near
           the "}" and the missing (or unexpected) comma.

           Use unary "+" before "{" on a hash reference, and
           unary "+" applied to the first thing in a BLOCK (after
           "{"), for perl to guess right all the time. (See "map"
           in perlfunc.)

       Numerical Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Perl4-to-Perl5 traps having to do with numerical operators,
 operands, or output from same.

       * Numerical
            Formatted output and significant digits.  In general,
            Perl 5 tries to be more precise.  For example, on a
            Solaris Sparc:

                print 7.373504 - 0, "0;
                printf "%20.18f0, 7.373504 - 0;

                # Perl4 prints:

                # Perl5 prints:

            Notice how the first result looks better in Perl 5.

            Your results may vary, since your floating point formatting
 routines and even floating point format may
            be slightly different.

       * Numerical
            This specific item has been deleted.  It demonstrated
            how the auto-increment operator would not catch when
            a number went over the signed int limit.  Fixed in
            version 5.003_04.  But always be wary when using
            large integers.  If in doubt:
               use Math::BigInt;

       * Numerical
            Assignment of return values from numeric equality
            tests does not work in perl5 when the test evaluates
            to false (0).  Logical tests now return a null,
            instead of 0

                $p = ($test == 1);
                print $p,"0;

                # perl4 prints: 0
                # perl5 prints:

            Also see "General Regular Expression Traps using
            s///, etc."  for another example of this new feature...

       * Bitwise string ops
            When bitwise operators which can operate upon either
            numbers or strings ("& | ^ ~") are given only strings
            as arguments, perl4 would treat the operands as bitstrings
 so long as the program contained a call to
            the "vec()" function. perl5 treats the string
            operands as bitstrings.  (See "Bitwise String Operators"
 in perlop for more details.)

                $fred = "10";
                $barney = "12";
                $betty = $fred & $barney;
                print "$betty0;
                # Uncomment the next line to change  perl4's  behavior
                # ($dummy) = vec("dummy", 0, 0);

                # Perl4 prints:

                # Perl5 prints:

                #  If vec() is used anywhere in the program, both

       General data type traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Perl4-to-Perl5 traps involving most data-types, and their
       usage within certain expressions and/or context.

       * (Arrays)
            Negative array subscripts now count from the end of
            the array.

                @a = (1, 2, 3, 4, 5);
                print "The third element of the  array  is  $a[3]
also expressed as $a[-2] 0;
                # perl4 prints: The third element of the array is
4 also expressed as
                # perl5 prints: The third element of the array is
4 also expressed as 4

       * (Arrays)
            Setting $#array lower now discards array elements,
            and makes them impossible to recover.

                @a = (a,b,c,d,e);
                print "Before: ",join('',@a);
                $#a =1;
                print ", After: ",join('',@a);
                $#a =3;
                print ", Recovered: ",join('',@a),"0;

                #  perl4 prints: Before: abcde, After: ab, Recovered: abcd
                # perl5 prints: Before: abcde, After: ab,  Recovered: ab

       * (Hashes)
            Hashes get defined before use

                die "scalar  defined" if defined($s);
                die "array @a defined" if defined(@a);
                die "hash h defined" if defined(%h);

                # perl4 prints:
                # perl5 dies: hash %h defined

            Perl will now generate a warning when it sees
            defined(@a) and defined(%h).

       * (Globs)
            glob assignment from variable to variable will fail
            if the assigned variable is localized subsequent to
            the assignment

                @a = ("This is Perl 4");
                *b = *a;
                print @b,"0;

                # perl4 prints: This is Perl 4
                # perl5 prints:

       * (Globs)
            Assigning  "undef" to a glob has no effect in Perl 5.
            In Perl 4 it undefines the associated scalar (but may
            have other side effects including SEGVs). Perl 5 will
            also warn if "undef" is assigned to a typeglob. (Note
            that assigning "undef" to a typeglob is different
            than calling the "undef" function on a typeglob
            ("undef *foo"), which has quite a few effects.
                $foo = "bar";
                *foo = undef;
                print $foo;

                # perl4 prints:
                # perl4 warns: "Use of uninitialized variable" if
using -w
                # perl5 prints: bar
                # perl5 warns: "Undefined value assigned to typeglob" if using -w

       * (Scalar String)
            Changes in unary negation (of strings) This change
            effects both the return value and what it does to

                $x = "aaa";
                print ++$x," : ";
                print -$x," : ";
                print ++$x,"0;

                # perl4 prints: aab : -0 : 1
                # perl5 prints: aab : -aab : aac

       * (Constants)
            perl 4 lets you modify constants:

                $foo = "x";
                for ($x = 0; $x < 3; $x++) {
                sub mod {
                    print "before: $_[0]";
                    $_[0] = "m";
                    print "  after: $_[0]0;

                # perl4:
                # before: x  after: m
                # before: a  after: m
                # before: m  after: m
                # before: m  after: m

                # Perl5:
                # before: x  after: m
                #  Modification of a read-only value attempted at
foo.pl line 12.
                # before: a

       * (Scalars)
            The behavior is slightly different for:

                print "$x", defined $x

                # perl 4: 1
                # perl 5: <no output, $x is not called into existence>
       * (Variable Suicide)
            Variable suicide behavior is more consistent under
            Perl 5.  Perl5 exhibits the same behavior for hashes
            and scalars, that perl4 exhibits for only scalars.

                $aGlobal{ "aKey" } = "global value";
                print "MAIN:", $aGlobal{"aKey"}, "0;
                $GlobalLevel = 0;
                &test( *aGlobal );

                sub test {
                    local( *theArgument ) = @_;
                    local( %aNewLocal ); # perl 4 != 5.001l,m
                    $aNewLocal{"aKey"}  =  "this should never appear";
                    print "SUB: ", $theArgument{"aKey"}, "0;
                    $aNewLocal{"aKey"}  =  "level  $GlobalLevel";
# what should print
                    if( $GlobalLevel<4 ) {
                        &test( *aNewLocal );

                # Perl4:
                # MAIN:global value
                # SUB: global value
                # SUB: level 0
                # SUB: level 1
                # SUB: level 2

                # Perl5:
                # MAIN:global value
                # SUB: global value
                # SUB: this should never appear
                # SUB: this should never appear
                # SUB: this should never appear

       Context Traps - scalar, list contexts

       * (list context)
            The elements of argument lists for formats are now
            evaluated in list context.  This means you can interpolate
 list values now.

                @fmt = ("foo","bar","baz");
                format STDOUT=
                @<<<<< @||||| @>>>>>

                # perl4 errors:  Please use  commas  to  separate
fields in file
                # perl5 prints: foo     bar      baz
       * (scalar context)
            The "caller()" function now returns a false value in
            a scalar context if there is no caller.  This lets
            library files determine if they're being required.

                caller()  ?  (print  "You rang?0) : (print "Got a

                # perl4 errors: There is no caller
                # perl5 prints: Got a 0

       * (scalar context)
            The comma operator in a scalar context is now guaranteed
 to give a scalar context to its arguments.

                @y= ('a','b','c');
                $x = (1, 2, @y);
                print "x = $x0;

                #  Perl4  prints:   x = c   # Thinks list context
interpolates list
                # Perl5 prints:  x =  3    #  Knows  scalar  uses
length of list

       * (list, builtin)
            "sprintf()" is prototyped as ($;@), so its first
            argument is given scalar context. Thus, if passed an
            array, it will probably not do what you want, unlike
            Perl 4:

                @z = ('%s%s', 'foo', 'bar');
                $x = sprintf(@z);
                print $x;

                # perl4 prints: foobar
                # perl5 prints: 3

            "printf()" works the same as it did in Perl 4,

                @z = ('%s%s', 'foo', 'bar');
                printf STDOUT (@z);

                # perl4 prints: foobar
                # perl5 prints: foobar

       Precedence Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Perl4-to-Perl5 traps involving precedence order.

       Perl 4 has almost the same precedence rules as Perl 5 for
       the operators that they both have.  Perl 4 however, seems
       to have had some inconsistencies that made the behavior
       differ from what was documented.

       * Precedence
            LHS vs. RHS of any assignment operator.  LHS is
            evaluated first in perl4, second in perl5; this can
            affect the relationship between side-effects in

                @arr = ( 'left', 'right' );
                $a{shift @arr} = shift @arr;
                print join( ' ', keys %a );

                # perl4 prints: left
                # perl5 prints: right

       * Precedence
            These are now semantic errors because of precedence:

                @list = (1,2,3,4,5);
                %map = ("a",1,"b",2,"c",3,"d",4);
                $n = shift @list + 2;   # first item in list plus
                print "n is $n, ";
                $m = keys %map + 2;     # number of items in hash
plus 2
                print "m is $m0;

                # perl4 prints: n is 3, m is 6
                # perl5 errors and fails to compile

       * Precedence
            The precedence of assignment operators is now the
            same as the precedence of assignment.  Perl 4 mistakenly
 gave them the precedence of the associated operator.
  So you now must parenthesize them in expressions

                /foo/ ? ($a += 2) : ($a -= 2);


                /foo/ ? $a += 2 : $a -= 2

            would be erroneously parsed as

                (/foo/ ? $a += 2 : $a) -= 2;

            On the other hand,

                $a += /foo/ ? 1 : 2;

            now works as a C programmer would expect.

       * Precedence
                open FOO || die;

            is now incorrect.  You need parentheses around the
            filehandle.  Otherwise, perl5 leaves the statement as
            its default precedence:
                open(FOO || die);

                # perl4 opens or dies
                # perl5 opens FOO, dying only if 'FOO' is  false,
i.e. never

       * Precedence
            perl4 gives the special variable, $: precedence,
            where perl5 treats $:: as main "package"

                $a = "x"; print "$::a";

                # perl 4 prints: -:a
                # perl 5 prints: x

       * Precedence
            perl4 had buggy precedence for the file test operators
 vis-a-vis the assignment operators.  Thus,
            although the precedence table for perl4 leads one to
            believe "-e $foo .= "q"" should parse as "((-e $foo)
            .= "q")", it actually parses as "(-e ($foo .= "q"))".
            In perl5, the precedence is as documented.

                -e $foo .= "q"

                # perl4 prints: no output
                # perl5 prints: Can't modify -e in concatenation

       * Precedence
            In perl4, keys(), each() and values() were special
            high-precedence operators that operated on a single
            hash, but in perl5, they are regular named unary
            operators.  As documented, named unary operators have
            lower precedence than the arithmetic and concatenation
 operators "+ - .", but the perl4 variants of
            these operators actually bind tighter than "+ - .".
            Thus, for:

                %foo = 1..10;
                print keys %foo - 1

                # perl4 prints: 4
                #  perl5  prints:  Type  of arg 1 to keys must be
hash (not subtraction)

            The perl4 behavior was probably more useful, if less

       General Regular Expression Traps using s///, etc.

       All types of RE traps.

       * Regular Expression
            "s'$lhs'$rhs'" now does no interpolation on either
            side.  It used to interpolate $lhs but not $rhs.
            (And still does not match a literal '$' in string)
                $string = '1 2 $a $b';
                $string =~ s'$a'$b';
                print $string,"0;

                # perl4 prints: $b 2 $a $b
                # perl5 prints: 1 2 $a $b

       * Regular Expression
            "m//g" now attaches its state to the searched string
            rather than the regular expression.  (Once the scope
            of a block is left for the sub, the state of the
            searched string is lost)

                $_ = "ababab";
                sub doit{local($_) = shift; print "Got $_ "}

                # perl4 prints: Got blah Got blah  Got  blah  Got
                # perl5 prints: infinite loop blah...

       * Regular Expression
            Currently, if you use the "m//o" qualifier on a regular
 expression within an anonymous sub, all closures
            generated from that anonymous sub will use the regular
 expression as it was compiled when it was used
            the very first time in any such closure.  For
            instance, if you say

                sub build_match {
                    my($left,$right) = @_;
                    return sub { $_[0] =~ /$left stuff  $right/o;
                $good = build_match('foo','bar');
                $bad = build_match('baz','blarch');
                print $good->('foo stuff bar') ? "ok0 : "not ok0;
                print $bad->('baz stuff blarch') ?  "ok0  :  "not
                print $bad->('foo stuff bar') ? "not ok0 : "ok0;

            For most builds of Perl5, this will print: ok not ok
            not ok

            build_match() will always return a sub which matches
            the contents of $left and $right as they were the
            first time that build_match() was called, not as they
            are in the current call.

       * Regular Expression
            If no parentheses are used in a match, Perl4 sets $+
            to the whole match, just like $&. Perl5 does not.
                "abcdef" =~ /b.*e/;
                print " = $+0;

                # perl4 prints: bcde
                # perl5 prints:

       * Regular Expression
            substitution now returns the null string if it fails

                $string = "test";
                $value = ($string =~ s/foo//);
                print $value, "0;

                # perl4 prints: 0
                # perl5 prints:

            Also see "Numerical Traps" for another example of
            this new feature.

       * Regular Expression
            "s`lhs`rhs`" (using backticks) is now a normal substitution,
 with no backtick expansion

                $string = "";
                $string =~ s`^`hostname`;
                print $string, "0;

                # perl4 prints: <the local hostname>
                # perl5 prints: hostname

       * Regular Expression
            Stricter parsing of variables used in regular expressions


                # perl4: compiles w/o error
                # perl5: with Scalar found where operator expected ..., near "$opt$plus"

            an added component of this example, apparently from
            the same script, is the actual value of the s'd
            string after the substitution.  "[$opt]" is a character
 class in perl4 and an array subscript in perl5

                $grpc = 'a';
                $opt  = 'r';
                $_ = 'bar';
                print ;

                # perl4 prints: foo
                # perl5 prints: foobar
       * Regular Expression
            Under perl5, "m?x?" matches only once, like "?x?".
            Under perl4, it matched repeatedly, like "/x/" or

                $test = "once";
                sub match { $test =~ m?once?; }
                if( &match() ) {
                    # m?x? matches more then once
                    print "perl40;
                } else {
                    # m?x? matches only once
                    print "perl50;

                # perl4 prints: perl4
                # perl5 prints: perl5

       * Regular Expression
            Unlike in Ruby, failed matches in Perl do not reset
            the match variables ($1, $2, ..., $`, ...).

       Subroutine, Signal, Sorting Traps

       The general group of Perl4-to-Perl5 traps having to do
       with Signals, Sorting, and their related subroutines, as
       well as general subroutine traps.  Includes some OS-Specific

       * (Signals)
            Barewords that used to look like strings to Perl will
            now look like subroutine calls if a subroutine by
            that name is defined before the compiler sees them.

                sub SeeYa { warn"Hasta la vista, baby!" }
                $SIG{'TERM'} = SeeYa;
                print "SIGTERM is now $SIG{'TERM'}0;

                # perl4 prints: SIGTERM is now main'SeeYa
                # perl5 prints: SIGTERM is now main::1 (and warns
"Hasta la vista, baby!")

            Use -w to catch this one

       * (Sort Subroutine)
            reverse is no longer allowed as the name of a sort

                sub reverse{ print "yup "; $a <=> $b }
                print sort reverse (2,1,3);

                # perl4 prints: yup yup 123
                # perl5 prints: 123
                #  perl5  warns (if using -w): Ambiguous call resolved as CORE::reverse()
       * warn() won't let you specify a filehandle.
            Although it _always_ printed to STDERR, warn() would
            let you specify a filehandle in perl4.  With perl5 it
            does not.

                warn STDERR "Foo!";

                # perl4 prints: Foo!
                #  perl5  prints: String found where operator expected

       OS Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       * (SysV)
            Under HPUX, and some other SysV OSes, one had to
            reset any signal handler, within  the signal handler
            function, each time a signal was handled with  perl4.
            With perl5, the reset is now done correctly.  Any
            code relying on the handler _not_ being reset will
            have to be reworked.

            Since version 5.002, Perl uses sigaction() under

                sub gotit {
                    print "Got @_... ";
                $SIG{'INT'} = 'gotit';

                $| = 1;
                $pid = fork;
                if ($pid) {
                    kill('INT', $pid);
                    kill('INT', $pid);
                } else {
                    while (1) {sleep(10);}

                # perl4 (HPUX) prints: Got INT...
                # perl5 (HPUX) prints: Got INT... Got INT...

       * (SysV)
            Under SysV OSes, "seek()" on a file opened to append
            ">>" now does the right thing w.r.t. the fopen() manpage.
 e.g., - When a file is opened for append,  it
            is  impossible to overwrite information already in
            the file.
                $start = tell TEST ;
                foreach(1 .. 9){
                    print TEST "$_ ";
                $end = tell TEST ;
                print TEST "18 characters here";

                # perl4 (solaris) seek.test  has:  18  characters
                #  perl5 (solaris) seek.test has: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 18 characters here

       Interpolation Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Perl4-to-Perl5 traps having to do with how things get
       interpolated within certain expressions, statements, contexts,
 or whatever.

       * Interpolation
            @ now always interpolates an array in double-quotish

                print "To: someone@somewhere.com0;

                # perl4 prints: To:someone@somewhere.com
                # perl < 5.6.1, error : In string, @somewhere now
must be written as @somewhere
                #  perl  >=  5.6.1, warning : Possible unintended
interpolation of @somewhere in string

       * Interpolation
            Double-quoted strings may no longer end with an
            unescaped $.

                $foo = "foo$";
                print "foo is $foo0;

                # perl4 prints: foo is foo$
                # perl5 errors: Final $ should be or $name

            Note: perl5 DOES NOT error on the terminating @ in

       * Interpolation
            Perl now sometimes evaluates arbitrary expressions
            inside braces that occur within double quotes (usually
 when the opening brace is preceded by "$" or

                @www = "buz";
                $foo = "foo";
                $bar = "bar";
                sub foo { return "bar" };
                print "|@{w.w.w}|${main'foo}|";
                # perl4 prints: |@{w.w.w}|foo|
                # perl5 prints: |buz|bar|

            Note that you can "use strict;" to ward off such
            trappiness under perl5.

       * Interpolation
            The construct "this is $$x" used to interpolate the
            pid at that point, but now tries to dereference $x.
            $$ by itself still works fine, however.

                $s = "a reference";
                $x = *s;
                print "this is $$x0;

                # perl4 prints: this is XXXx   (XXX is  the  current pid)
                # perl5 prints: this is a reference

       * Interpolation
            Creation of hashes on the fly with "eval "EXPR"" now
            requires either both "$"'s to be protected in the
            specification of the hash name, or both curlies to be
            protected.  If both curlies are protected, the result
            will be compatible with perl4 and perl5.  This is a
            very common practice, and should be changed to use
            the block form of "eval{}"  if possible.

                $hashname = "foobar";
                $key = "baz";
                $value = 1234;
                eval "hashname{'$key'} = q|$value|";
                (defined($foobar{'baz'}))   ?   (print  "Yup")  :
(print "Nope");

                # perl4 prints: Yup
                # perl5 prints: Nope


                eval "hashname{'$key'} = q|$value|";


                eval "shname{'$key'} = q|$value|";

            causes the following result:

                # perl4 prints: Nope
                # perl5 prints: Yup

            or, changing to

                eval "hashname'$key' = q|$value|";

            causes the following result:
                # perl4 prints: Yup
                # perl5 prints: Yup
                # and is compatible for both versions

       * Interpolation
            perl4 programs which unconsciously rely on the bugs
            in earlier perl versions.

                perl -e '$bar=q/not/; print "This  is  $foo{$bar}

                # perl4 prints: This is not perl5
                # perl5 prints: This is perl5

       * Interpolation
            You also have to be careful about array and hash
            brackets during interpolation.

                print "$foo["

                perl 4 prints: [
                perl 5 prints: syntax error

                print "$foo{"

                perl 4 prints: {
                perl 5 prints: syntax error

            Perl 5 is expecting to find an index or key name following
 the respective brackets, as well as an ending
            bracket of the appropriate type.  In order to mimic
            the behavior of Perl 4, you must escape the bracket
            like so.

                print "$foo
                print "$foo";

       * Interpolation
            Similarly, watch out for:

                $foo = "baz";
                print "foo{bar}0;

                # perl4 prints: $baz{bar}
                # perl5 prints: $

            Perl 5 is looking for $foo{bar} which doesn't exist,
            but perl 4 is happy just to expand $foo to "baz" by
            itself.  Watch out for this especially in "eval"'s.

       * Interpolation
            "qq()" string passed to "eval"
                eval qq(
                    foreach  (keys % {

                # perl4 runs this ok
                # perl5 prints: Can't find string terminator ")"

       DBM Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       General DBM traps.

       * DBM
            Existing dbm databases created under perl4 (or any
            other dbm/ndbm tool) may cause the same script, run
            under perl5, to fail.  The build of perl5 must have
            been linked with the same dbm/ndbm as the default for
            "dbmopen()" to function properly without "tie"'ing to
            an extension dbm implementation.

                dbmopen (%dbm, "file", undef);
                print "ok0;

                # perl4 prints: ok
                # perl5 prints: ok  (IFF  linked  with  -ldbm  or

       * DBM
            Existing dbm databases created under perl4 (or any
            other dbm/ndbm tool) may cause the same script, run
            under perl5, to fail.  The error generated when
            exceeding the limit on the key/value size will cause
            perl5 to exit immediately.

                dbmopen(DB,  "testdb",0600) || die "couldn't open
db! $!";
                $DB{'trap'} = "x" x 1024;  # value too large  for
most dbm/ndbm
                print "YUP0;

                # perl4 prints:
                dbm  store returned -1, errno 28, key "trap" at -
line 3.

                # perl5 prints:
                dbm store returned -1, errno 28, key "trap" at  -
line 3.

       Unclassified Traps    [Toc]    [Back]

       Everything else.

       * "require"/"do" trap using returned value
            If the file doit.pl has:
                sub foo {
                    $rc = do "./do.pl";
                    return 8;
                print &foo, "0;

            And the do.pl file has the following single line:

                return 3;

            Running doit.pl gives the following:

                # perl 4 prints: 3 (aborts the subroutine early)
                # perl 5 prints: 8

            Same behavior if you replace "do" with "require".

       * "split" on empty string with LIMIT specified
                $string = '';
                @list = split(/foo/, $string, 2)

            Perl4 returns a one element list containing the empty
            string but Perl5 returns an empty list.

       As always, if any of these are ever officially declared as
       bugs, they'll be fixed and removed.

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                         27
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