Data::Dumper

Data::Dumper(3)        Perl Programmers Reference Guide        Data::Dumper(3)



NAME
       Data::Dumper - stringified perl data structures, suitable for both
       printing and eval

SYNOPSIS
           use Data::Dumper;

           # simple procedural interface
           print Dumper($foo, $bar);

           # extended usage with names
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$foo, $bar], [qw(foo *ary)]);

           # configuration variables
           {
             local $Data::Dump::Purity = 1;
             eval Data::Dumper->Dump([$foo, $bar], [qw(foo *ary)]);
           }

           # OO usage
           $d = Data::Dumper->new([$foo, $bar], [qw(foo *ary)]);
              ...
           print $d->Dump;
              ...
           $d->Purity(1)->Terse(1)->Deepcopy(1);
           eval $d->Dump;


DESCRIPTION
       Given a list of scalars or reference variables, writes out their
       contents in perl syntax. The references can also be objects.  The
       contents of each variable is output in a single Perl statement.
       Handles self-referential structures correctly.

       The return value can be evaled to get back an identical copy of the
       original reference structure.

       Any references that are the same as one of those passed in will be
       named $VARn (where n is a numeric suffix), and other duplicate
       references to substructures within $VARn will be appropriately labeled
       using arrow notation.  You can specify names for individual values to
       be dumped if you use the Dump() method, or you can change the default
       $VAR prefix to something else.  See $Data::Dumper::Varname and
       $Data::Dumper::Terse below.

       The default output of self-referential structures can be evaled, but
       the nested references to $VARn will be undefined, since a recursive
       structure cannot be constructed using one Perl statement.  You should
       set the Purity flag to 1 to get additional statements that will
       correctly fill in these references.

       In the extended usage form, the references to be dumped can be given
       user-specified names.  If a name begins with a *, the output will
       describe the dereferenced type of the supplied reference for hashes and
       arrays, and coderefs.  Output of names will be avoided where possible
       if the Terse flag is set.

       In many cases, methods that are used to set the internal state of the
       object will return the object itself, so method calls can be
       conveniently chained together.

       Several styles of output are possible, all controlled by setting the
       Indent flag.  See the section on Configuration Variables or Methods
       below for details.

       Methods

       PACKAGE->new(ARRAYREF [, ARRAYREF])
           Returns a newly created Data::Dumper object.  The first argument is
           an anonymous array of values to be dumped.  The optional second
           argument is an anonymous array of names for the values.  The names
           need not have a leading $ sign, and must be comprised of
           alphanumeric characters.  You can begin a name with a * to specify
           that the dereferenced type must be dumped instead of the reference
           itself, for ARRAY and HASH references.

           The prefix specified by $Data::Dumper::Varname will be used with a
           numeric suffix if the name for a value is undefined.

           Data::Dumper will catalog all references encountered while dumping
           the values. Cross-references (in the form of names of substructures
           in perl syntax) will be inserted at all possible points, preserving
           any structural interdependencies in the original set of values.
           Structure traversal is depth-first,  and proceeds in order from the
           first supplied value to the last.

       $OBJ->Dump  or  PACKAGE->Dump(ARRAYREF [, ARRAYREF])
           Returns the stringified form of the values stored in the object
           (preserving the order in which they were supplied to new), subject
           to the configuration options below.  In an array context, it
           returns a list of strings corresponding to the supplied values.

           The second form, for convenience, simply calls the new method on
           its arguments before dumping the object immediately.

       $OBJ->Dumpxs  or  PACKAGE->Dumpxs(ARRAYREF [, ARRAYREF])
           This method is available if you were able to compile and install
           the XSUB extension to Data::Dumper. It is exactly identical to the
           Dump method above, only about 4 to 5 times faster, since it is
           written entirely in C.

       $OBJ->Seen([HASHREF])
           Queries or adds to the internal table of already encountered
           references.  You must use Reset to explicitly clear the table if
           needed.  Such references are not dumped; instead, their names are
           inserted wherever they are encountered subsequently.  This is
           useful especially for properly dumping subroutine references.

           Expects a anonymous hash of name => value pairs.  Same rules apply
           for names as in new.  If no argument is supplied, will return the
           "seen" list of name => value pairs, in an array context.
           Otherwise, returns the object itself.

       $OBJ->Values([ARRAYREF])
           Queries or replaces the internal array of values that will be
           dumped.  When called without arguments, returns the values.
           Otherwise, returns the object itself.

       $OBJ->Names([ARRAYREF])
           Queries or replaces the internal array of user supplied names for
           the values that will be dumped.  When called without arguments,
           returns the names.  Otherwise, returns the object itself.

       $OBJ->Reset
           Clears the internal table of "seen" references and returns the
           object itself.

       Functions

       Dumper(LIST)
           Returns the stringified form of the values in the list, subject to
           the configuration options below.  The values will be named $VARn in
           the output, where n is a numeric suffix.  Will return a list of
           strings in an array context.

       DumperX(LIST)
           Identical to the Dumper() function above, but this calls the XSUB
           implementation.  Only available if you were able to compile and
           install the XSUB extensions in Data::Dumper.

       Configuration Variables or Methods

       Several configuration variables can be used to control the kind of
       output generated when using the procedural interface.  These variables
       are usually localized in a block so that other parts of the code are
       not affected by the change.

       These variables determine the default state of the object created by
       calling the new method, but cannot be used to alter the state of the
       object thereafter.  The equivalent method names should be used instead
       to query or set the internal state of the object.

       The method forms return the object itself when called with arguments,
       so that they can be chained together nicely.

       $Data::Dumper::Indent  or  $OBJ->Indent([NEWVAL])
           Controls the style of indentation.  It can be set to 0, 1, 2 or 3.
           Style 0 spews output without any newlines, indentation, or spaces
           between list items.  It is the most compact format possible that
           can still be called valid perl.  Style 1 outputs a readable form
           with newlines but no fancy indentation (each level in the structure
           is simply indented by a fixed amount of whitespace).  Style 2 (the
           default) outputs a very readable form which takes into account the
           length of hash keys (so the hash value lines up).  Style 3 is like
           style 2, but also annotates the elements of arrays with their index
           (but the comment is on its own line, so array output consumes twice
           the number of lines).  Style 2 is the default.

       $Data::Dumper::Purity  or  $OBJ->Purity([NEWVAL])
           Controls the degree to which the output can be evaled to recreate
           the supplied reference structures.  Setting it to 1 will output
           additional perl statements that will correctly recreate nested
           references.  The default is 0.

       $Data::Dumper::Pad  or  $OBJ->Pad([NEWVAL])
           Specifies the string that will be prefixed to every line of the
           output.  Empty string by default.

       $Data::Dumper::Varname  or  $OBJ->Varname([NEWVAL])
           Contains the prefix to use for tagging variable names in the
           output. The default is "VAR".

       $Data::Dumper::Useqq  or  $OBJ->Useqq([NEWVAL])
           When set, enables the use of double quotes for representing string
           values.  Whitespace other than space will be represented as
           [\n\t\r], "unsafe" characters will be backslashed, and unprintable
           characters will be output as quoted octal integers.  Since setting
           this variable imposes a performance penalty, the default is 0.  The
           Dumpxs() method does not honor this flag yet.

       $Data::Dumper::Terse  or  $OBJ->Terse([NEWVAL])
           When set, Data::Dumper will emit single, non-self-referential
           values as atoms/terms rather than statements.  This means that the
           $VARn names will be avoided where possible, but be advised that
           such output may not always be parseable by eval.

       $Data::Dumper::Freezer  or  $OBJ->Freezer([NEWVAL])
           Can be set to a method name, or to an empty string to disable the
           feature.  Data::Dumper will invoke that method via the object
           before attempting to stringify it.  This method can alter the
           contents of the object (if, for instance, it contains data
           allocated from C), and even rebless it in a different package.  The
           client is responsible for making sure the specified method can be
           called via the object, and that the object ends up containing only
           perl data types after the method has been called.  Defaults to an
           empty string.

       $Data::Dumper::Toaster  or  $OBJ->Toaster([NEWVAL])
           Can be set to a method name, or to an empty string to disable the
           feature.  Data::Dumper will emit a method call for any objects that
           are to be dumped using the syntax bless(DATA, CLASS)-METHOD()>.
           Note that this means that the method specified will have to perform
           any modifications required on the object (like creating new state
           within it, and/or reblessing it in a different package) and then
           return it.  The client is responsible for making sure the method
           can be called via the object, and that it returns a valid object.
           Defaults to an empty string.

       $Data::Dumper::Deepcopy  or  $OBJ->Deepcopy([NEWVAL])
           Can be set to a boolean value to enable deep copies of structures.
           Cross-referencing will then only be done when absolutely essential
           (i.e., to break reference cycles).  Default is 0.

       $Data::Dumper::Quotekeys  or  $OBJ->Quotekeys([NEWVAL])
           Can be set to a boolean value to control whether hash keys are
           quoted.  A false value will avoid quoting hash keys when it looks
           like a simple string.  Default is 1, which will always enclose hash
           keys in quotes.

       $Data::Dumper::Bless  or  $OBJ->Bless([NEWVAL])
           Can be set to a string that specifies an alternative to the bless
           builtin operator used to create objects.  A function with the
           specified name should exist, and should accept the same arguments
           as the builtin.  Default is bless.

       Exports

       Dumper

EXAMPLES
       Run these code snippets to get a quick feel for the behavior of this
       module.  When you are through with these examples, you may want to add
       or change the various configuration variables described above, to see
       their behavior.  (See the testsuite in the Data::Dumper distribution
       for more examples.)

           use Data::Dumper;

           package Foo;
           sub new {bless {'a' => 1, 'b' => sub { return "foo" }}, $_[0]};

           package Fuz;                       # a weird REF-REF-SCALAR object
           sub new {bless \($_ = \ 'fu\'z'), $_[0]};

           package main;
           $foo = Foo->new;
           $fuz = Fuz->new;
           $boo = [ 1, [], "abcd", \*foo,
                    {1 => 'a', 023 => 'b', 0x45 => 'c'},
                    \\"p\q\'r", $foo, $fuz];

           ########
           # simple usage
           ########

           $bar = eval(Dumper($boo));
           print($@) if $@;
           print Dumper($boo), Dumper($bar);  # pretty print (no array indices)

           $Data::Dumper::Terse = 1;          # don't output names where feasible
           $Data::Dumper::Indent = 0;         # turn off all pretty print
           print Dumper($boo), "\n";

           $Data::Dumper::Indent = 1;         # mild pretty print
           print Dumper($boo);

           $Data::Dumper::Indent = 3;         # pretty print with array indices
           print Dumper($boo);

           $Data::Dumper::Useqq = 1;          # print strings in double quotes
           print Dumper($boo);


           ########
           # recursive structures
           ########

           @c = ('c');
           $c = \@c;
           $b = {};
           $a = [1, $b, $c];
           $b->{a} = $a;
           $b->{b} = $a->[1];
           $b->{c} = $a->[2];
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$a,$b,$c], [qw(a b c)]);


           $Data::Dumper::Purity = 1;         # fill in the holes for eval
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$a, $b], [qw(*a b)]); # print as @a
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$b, $a], [qw(*b a)]); # print as %b


           $Data::Dumper::Deepcopy = 1;       # avoid cross-refs
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$b, $a], [qw(*b a)]);


           $Data::Dumper::Purity = 0;         # avoid cross-refs
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$b, $a], [qw(*b a)]);


           ########
           # object-oriented usage
           ########

           $d = Data::Dumper->new([$a,$b], [qw(a b)]);
           $d->Seen({'*c' => $c});            # stash a ref without printing it
           $d->Indent(3);
           print $d->Dump;
           $d->Reset->Purity(0);              # empty the seen cache
           print join "----\n", $d->Dump;


           ########
           # persistence
           ########

           package Foo;
           sub new { bless { state => 'awake' }, shift }
           sub Freeze {
               my $s = shift;
               print STDERR "preparing to sleep\n";
               $s->{state} = 'asleep';
               return bless $s, 'Foo::ZZZ';
           }

           package Foo::ZZZ;
           sub Thaw {
               my $s = shift;
               print STDERR "waking up\n";
               $s->{state} = 'awake';
               return bless $s, 'Foo';
           }

           package Foo;
           use Data::Dumper;
           $a = Foo->new;
           $b = Data::Dumper->new([$a], ['c']);
           $b->Freezer('Freeze');
           $b->Toaster('Thaw');
           $c = $b->Dump;
           print $c;
           $d = eval $c;
           print Data::Dumper->Dump([$d], ['d']);


           ########
           # symbol substitution (useful for recreating CODE refs)
           ########

           sub foo { print "foo speaking\n" }
           *other = \&foo;
           $bar = [ \&other ];
           $d = Data::Dumper->new([\&other,$bar],['*other','bar']);
           $d->Seen({ '*foo' => \&foo });
           print $d->Dump;


BUGS
       Due to limitations of Perl subroutine call semantics, you cannot pass
       an array or hash.  Prepend it with a \ to pass its reference instead.
       This will be remedied in time, with the arrival of prototypes in later
       versions of Perl.  For now, you need to use the extended usage form,
       and prepend the name with a * to output it as a hash or array.

       Data::Dumper cheats with CODE references.  If a code reference is
       encountered in the structure being processed, an anonymous subroutine
       that contains the string '"DUMMY"' will be inserted in its place, and a
       warning will be printed if Purity is set.  You can eval the result, but
       bear in mind that the anonymous sub that gets created is just a
       placeholder.  Someday, perl will have a switch to cache-on-demand the
       string representation of a compiled piece of code, I hope.  If you have
       prior knowledge of all the code refs that your data structures are
       likely to have, you can use the Seen method to pre-seed the internal
       reference table and make the dumped output point to them, instead.  See
       the EXAMPLES manpage above.

       The Useqq flag is not honored by Dumpxs() (it always outputs strings in
       single quotes).

       SCALAR objects have the weirdest looking bless workaround.

AUTHOR
       Gurusamy Sarathy        gsar@umich.edu

       Copyright (c) 1996-98 Gurusamy Sarathy. All rights reserved.  This
       program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the same terms as Perl itself.

VERSION
       Version 2.09    (9 July 1998)

SEE ALSO
       perl(1)






































3rd Berkeley Distribution    perl 5.005, patch 02              Data::Dumper(3)