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Programming Perl, 3rd Edition by Jon Orwant, Tom Christiansen, Larry Wall

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More Elaborate Records

So far, what we've seen in this chapter are simple, two-level, homogeneous data structures: each element contains the same kind of referent as all the other elements at that level. It certainly doesn't have to be that way. Any element can hold any kind of scalar, which means that it could be a string, a number, or a reference to anything at all. The reference could be an array or hash reference, or a pseudohash, or a reference to a named or anonymous function, or an object. The only thing you can't do is to stuff multiple referents into one scalar. If you find yourself trying to do that, it's a sign that you need an array or hash reference to collapse multiple values into one.

In the sections that follow, you will find code examples designed to illustrate many of the possible types of data you might want to store in a record, which we'll implement using a hash reference. The keys are uppercase strings, a convention sometimes employed (and occasionally unemployed, but only briefly) when the hash is being used as a specific record type.

Composition, Access, and Printing of More Elaborate Records

Here is a record with six disparate fields:

$rec = {
    TEXT      => $string,
    SEQUENCE  => [ @old_values ],
    LOOKUP    => { %some_table },
    THATCODE  => \&some_function,
    THISCODE  => sub { $_[0] ** $_[1] },
    HANDLE    => \*STDOUT,
};

The TEXT field is a simple string, so you can just print it:

print $rec->{TEXT};

SEQUENCE and LOOKUP are regular array and hash references:

print $rec->{SEQUENCE}[0]; ...

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