Ayhan Ulusoy > Data-HashArray-1.0 > Data::HashArray

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Module Version: 1.0   Source   Latest Release: Data-HashArray-1.03

NAME ^

Data::HashArray - An array class of hashes that has magical properties via overloading and AUTOLOAD.

ISA ^

This class does not descend from any other class.

SYNOPSIS ^

  my $a = Data::HashArray->new(
                                          {code=>'FR', name=>'France', size=>'medium'},
                                          {code=>'TR', name=>'Turkey', size=>'medium'},
                                          {code=>'US', name=>'United States', size=>'large'}
                                          );

  print $a->[2]->{name};    # Prints 'United States'. No surprise.
  print $a->[0]->{name};    # Prints 'France'. No surprise.
  print $a->{name};             # Prints 'France'. OVERLOADED hash access.

  my $h = $a->hash('code');             # One level hash (returns a hash of a HashArray of hashes)
  my $h = $a->hash('size', 'code');     # Two level hash (returns a hash of a hash of a HashArray  of hashes)

  my $h = $a->hash('size')                                              # One level hash on 'size'.  
  my $h = $a->hash(sub { shift->{'size'}; })    # Same as above, but with a CODE reference

DESCRIPTION ^

Normally, Data::HashArray is an array of hashes or hash-based objects. This class has some magical properties that make it easier to deal with multiplicity.

First, there exist two overloads. One for hash access and the other for stringification. Both will act on the first element of the array. In other words, performing a hash access on an object of this class will be equivalent to performing a hash access on the first element of the array.

Second, the AUTOLOAD method will delegate any method unkown to this class to the first item in the array as well. For this to work, at least the first item of the array better be an object on which one could call such a method.

Both of these magical properties make it easier to deal with unpredictable multiplicity. You can both treat the object as an array or as hash (the first one in the array). This way, if your code deosn't know that an element can occur multiple times (in other words, if the code treats the element as singular), the same code should still largely work when the singualr element is replaced by a Data::HashArray object.

The other practical feature of this class is the capabality to place the objects (or hashes) in the array into a hash keyed on the value of a given field or fields (see the "hash()" method for further details).

OVERLOADS ^

Two overloads are performed so that a Data::HashArray object looks like a simple hash or a singular object if treated like one.

hash access

If an object of this class is accessed as if it were a reference to a hash with the usual $object->{$key} syntax, it will behave just like a genuine hash. The access will be made on the first item of the array (as this is an array class) assuming this item is a hash or hash-based object.

stringification

If an object of this class is accessed as if it were a string, then the stringification of the first item of the array will be returned.

METHODS ^

CONSTRUCTORS

new()

  my $array = Data::HashArray->new();           # An empty array
  my $array = Data::HashArray->new(@items);     # An array with initial items in it.

CONSTRUCTOR.

The new() constructor method instantiates a new Data::HashArray object. This method is inheritable.

Any items that are passed in the parameter list will form the initial items of the array.

OTHER METHODS

hash()

  my $h = $array->hash($field);         # Single hash level with one key field
  my $h = $array->hash(@fields);        # Multiple hash levels with several key fields
  
  my $h = $array->hash('size')                                          # Concrete example. Hash on 'size'.  
  my $h = $array->hash(sub { shift->{'size'}; })        # Same as above, but with a CODE reference

OBJECT METHOD.

Remember that the items of a Data::HashArray object are supposed to be hashes or at least hash-based objects.

When called with a single argument, the hash() method will create a hash of the items of the array keyed on the value of the argument 'field'.

An example is best. Assume that we have a Data::HashArray object that looks like the following :

  my $array = bless ([
                      {code=>'FR', name=>'France', size=>'medium'},
                      {code=>'TR', name=>'Turkey', size=>'medium'},
                      {code=>'US', name=>'United States', size=>'large'}
                     ], 'Data::HashArray');

Now, if we make a call to hash() as follows:

  my $hash = $array->hash('code');

Then the resulting hash will look like the following:

  $hash = {
           FR=> bless ([{code=>'FR', name=>'France', size=>'medium'], 'Data::HashArray'),
           TR=> bless ([{code=>'TR', name=>'Turkey', size=>'medium'], 'Data::HashArray'),
           US=> bless ([{code=>'US', name=>'United States', size=>'large'}, 'Data::HashArray')
  };

When, multiple fields are passes, then multiple levels of hashes will be created each keyed on the field of the corresponding level.

If, for example, we had done the following call on the above array: my $hash = $array->hash('size', 'code'};

We would then get the following hash:

  $hash = {
        large =>  {
                US=> bless ([{code=>'US', name=>'United States', size=>'large'}, 'Data::HashArray')
                },
        medium => {
                 FR=> bless ([{code=>'FR', name=>'France', size=>'medium'}], 'Data::HashArray'),
                 TR=> bless ([{code=>'TR', name=>'Turkey', size=>'medium'}], 'Data::HashArrayy')
                 }
   };

Note that the last level of the hierarachy is always a HashArray of hashes. This is done to accomodate the case where more then one item can have the same key.

Note that the arguments to this method could also be CODE references. In that case, the CODE is executed for each item in the array, passing the item reference as the first argument to the CODE refernce. The code BLOCK should return the expected key value for the item.

For example, the following are equivalent:

  my $h = $array->hash('size')                                          # Concrete example. Hash on 'size'.  
  my $h = $array->hash(sub { shift->{'size'}; })        # Same as above, but with a CODE reference passed as an argument.

.

BUGS & CAVEATS ^

There no known bugs at this time, but this doesn't mean there are aren't any. Use it at your own risk.

Note that there may be other bugs or limitations that the author is not aware of.

AUTHOR ^

Ayhan Ulusoy <dev@ulusoy.name>

COPYRIGHT ^

  Copyright (C) 2006-2008 Ayhan Ulusoy. All Rights Reserved.

This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

DISCLAIMER ^

BECAUSE THIS SOFTWARE IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE SOFTWARE, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE SOFTWARE "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE SOFTWARE IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE SOFTWARE PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR, OR CORRECTION.

IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE SOFTWARE AS PERMITTED BY THE ABOVE LICENCE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE SOFTWARE TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER SOFTWARE), EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

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