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Cory Johns > libalarm-1.0 > Alarm::Concurrent



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Alarm::Concurrent - Allow multiple, concurrent alarms.


This module is an attempt to enhance Perl's built-in alarm/$SIG{ALRM} functionality.

This function, and its associated signal handler, allow you to arrange for your program to receive a SIGALRM signal, which you can then catch and deal with appropriately.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the design of these signals (at the OS level), you can only have one alarm and handler active at any given time. That's where this module comes in.

This module allows you to define multiple alarms, each with an associated handler. These alarms are sequenced (in a queue) but concurrent, which means that their order is preserved but they always go off as their set time expires, regardless of the state of the other alarms. (If you'd like to have the alarms only go off in the order you set them, see Alarm::Queued.)

To set an alarm, call the setalarm() function with the set time of the alarm and a reference to the subroutine to be called when the alarm goes off. You can then go on with your program and the alarm will be called after the set time has passed.

It is also possible to set an alarm that does not have a handler associated with it using Alarm::Concurrent::alarm(). (This function can also be imported into your namespace, in which case it will replace Perl's built-in alarm for your package only.)

If an alarm that does not have a handler associated with it goes off, the default handler, pointed to by $Alarm::Concurrent::DEFAULT_HANLDER, is called. You can change the default handler by assigning to this variable.

The default $Alarm::Concurrent::DEFAULT_HANDLER simply dies with the message "Alarm clock!\n".


No methods are exported by default but you can import any of the functions in the FUNCTIONS section.

You can also import the special tag :ALL which will import all the functions in the FUNCTIONS section (except Alarm::Concurrent::restore()).


If you import the special tag :OVERRIDE, this module will override Perl's built-in alarm function for every namespace and it will take over Perl's magic %SIG variable, changing any attempts to read or write $SIG{ALRM} into calls to gethandler() and sethandler(), respectively (reading and writing to other keys in %SIG is unaffected).

This can be useful when you are calling code that tries to set its own alarm "the old fashioned way." It can also, however, be dangerous. Overriding alarm is documented and should be stable but taking over %SIG is more risky (see CAVEATS).

Note that if you do not override alarm and %SIG, any code you use that sets "legacy alarms" will disable all of your concurrent alarms. You can call Alarm::Concurrent::restore() to reinstall the Alarm::Concurrent handler. This function can not be imported.


The following functions are available for use.


Sets a new alarm and associates a handler with it. The handler is called when the specified number of seconds have elapsed. See DESCRIPTION for more information.

clearalarm INDEX LENGTH
clearalarm INDEX

Clears one or more previously set alarms. The index is an array index, with 0 being the currently active alarm and -1 being the last (most recent) alarm that was set.

INDEX defaults to 0 and LENGTH defaults to 1.


Creates a new alarm with no handler. A handler can later be set for it via sethandler() or $SIG{ALRM}, if overridden.

For the most part, this function behaves exactly like Perl's built-in alarm function, except that it sets up a concurrent alarm instead. Thus, each call to alarm does not disable previous alarms unless called with a set time of 0.

Calling alarm() with a set time of 0 will disable the last alarm set.

If SECONDS is not specified, the value stored in $_ is used.

sethandler INDEX CODEREF
sethandler CODEREF

Sets a handler for the alarm found at INDEX in the queue. This is an array index, so negative values may be used to indicate position relative to the end of the queue.

If INDEX is not specified, the handler is set for the last alarm in the queue that doesn't have one associated with it. This means that if you set multiple alarms using alarm(), you should arrange their respective sethandler()'s in the opposite order.

gethandler INDEX

Returns the handler for the alarm found at INDEX in the queue. This is an array index, so negative values may be used.

If INDEX is not specified, returns the handler for the currently active alarm.

restore FLAG

This function reinstalls the Alarm::Concurrent alarm handler if it has been replaced by a "legacy alarm handler."

If FLAG is present and true, restore() will save the current handler by setting it as a new concurrent alarm (as if you had called setalarm() for it).

This function may not be imported.

Note: Do not call this function if you have imported the :OVERLOAD symbol. It can have unpredictable results.



Written by Cory Johns (c) 2001.

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