Switch to SpeakEasy.net DSL

The Modular Manual Browser

Home Page
Manual: (OpenBSD-3.6)
Apropos / Subsearch:
optional field

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

       PerlIO - On demand loader for PerlIO layers and root of
       PerlIO::* name space

         open($fh,"<:crlf", "my.txt"); # portably open a text file for reading

         open($fh,"<","his.jpg");      # portably open a binary file for reading

           PERLIO=perlio perl ....

       When an undefined layer 'foo' is encountered in an "open"
       or "binmode" layer specification then C code performs the
       equivalent of:

         use PerlIO 'foo';

       The perl code in PerlIO.pm then attempts to locate a layer
       by doing

         require PerlIO::foo;

       Otherwise the "PerlIO" package is a place holder for addi-
       tional PerlIO related functions.

       The following layers are currently defined:

           Lowest level layer which provides basic PerlIO opera-
           tions in terms of UNIX/POSIX numeric file descriptor
           calls (open(), read(), write(), lseek(), close()).

           Layer which calls "fread", "fwrite" and
           "fseek"/"ftell" etc.  Note that as this is "real"
           stdio it will ignore any layers beneath it and got
           straight to the operating system via the C library as

           A from scratch implementation of buffering for PerlIO.
           Provides fast access to the buffer for "sv_gets" which
           implements perl's readline/<> and in general attempts
           to minimize data copying.

           ":perlio" will insert a ":unix" layer below itself to
           do low level IO.

           A layer that implements DOS/Windows like CRLF line
           endings.  On read converts pairs of CR,LF to a single

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          1

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

           "\n" newline character.  On write converts each "\n"
           to a CR,LF pair.  Note that this layer likes to be one
           of its kind: it silently ignores attempts to be pushed
           into the layer stack more than once.

           It currently does not mimic MS-DOS as far as treating
           of Control-Z as being an end-of-file marker.

           (Gory details follow) To be more exact what happens is
           this: after pushing itself to the stack, the ":crlf"
           layer checks all the layers below itself to find the
           first layer that is capable of being a CRLF layer but
           is not yet enabled to be a CRLF layer.  If it finds
           such a layer, it enables the CRLFness of that other
           deeper layer, and then pops itself off the stack.  If
           not, fine, use the one we just pushed.

           The end result is that a ":crlf" means "please enable
           the first CRLF layer you can find, and if you can't
           find one, here would be a good spot to place a new

           Based on the ":perlio" layer.

           A layer which implements "reading" of files by using
           "mmap()" to make (whole) file appear in the process's
           address space, and then using that as PerlIO's
           "buffer". This may be faster in certain circumstances
           for large files, and may result in less physical mem-
           ory use when multiple processes are reading the same

           Files which are not "mmap()"-able revert to behaving
           like the ":perlio" layer. Writes also behave like
           ":perlio" layer as "mmap()" for write needs extra
           house-keeping (to extend the file) which negates any

           The ":mmap" layer will not exist if platform does not
           support "mmap()".

           Declares that the stream accepts perl's internal
           encoding of characters.  (Which really is UTF-8 on
           ASCII machines, but is UTF-EBCDIC on EBCDIC machines.)
           This allows any character perl can represent to be
           read from or written to the stream. The UTF-X encoding
           is chosen to render simple text parts (i.e.  non-
           accented letters, digits and common punctuation) human
           readable in the encoded file.

           Here is how to write your native data out using UTF-8
           (or UTF-EBCDIC) and then read it back in.

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          2

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

                   open(F, ">:utf8", "data.utf");
                   print F $out;

                   open(F, "<:utf8", "data.utf");
                   $in = <F>;

           This is the inverse of ":utf8" layer. It turns off the
           flag on the layer below so that data read from it is
           considered to be "octets" i.e. characters in range
           0..255 only. Likewise on output perl will warn if a
           "wide" character is written to a such a stream.

           The ":raw" layer is defined as being identical to
           calling "binmode($fh)" - the stream is made suitable
           for passing binary data i.e. each byte is passed
           as-is. The stream will still be buffered.

           In Perl 5.6 and some books the ":raw" layer (previ-
           ously sometimes also referred to as a "discipline") is
           documented as the inverse of the ":crlf" layer. That
           is no longer the case - other layers which would alter
           binary nature of the stream are also disabled.  If you
           want UNIX line endings on a platform that normally
           does CRLF translation, but still want UTF-8 or encod-
           ing defaults the appropriate thing to do is to add
           ":perlio" to PERLIO environment variable.

           The implementation of ":raw" is as a pseudo-layer
           which when "pushed" pops itself and then any layers
           which do not declare themselves as suitable for binary
           data. (Undoing :utf8 and :crlf are implemented by
           clearing flags rather than popping layers but that is
           an implementation detail.)

           As a consequence of the fact that ":raw" normally pops
           layers it usually only makes sense to have it as the
           only or first element in a layer specification.  When
           used as the first element it provides a known base on
           which to build e.g.


           will construct a "binary" stream, but then enable
           UTF-8 translation.

           A pseudo layer that removes the top-most layer. Gives
           perl code a way to manipulate the layer stack. Should
           be considered as experimental. Note that ":pop" only
           works on real layers and will not undo the effects of

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          3

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

           pseudo layers like ":utf8".  An example of a possible
           use might be:

               binmode($fh,":encoding(...)");  # next chunk is encoded
               binmode($fh,":pop");            # back to un-encocded

           A more elegant (and safer) interface is needed.

           On Win32 platforms this experimental layer uses native
           "handle" IO rather than unix-like numeric file
           descriptor layer. Known to be buggy as of perl 5.8.2.

       Custom Layers

       It is possible to write custom layers in addition to the
       above builtin ones, both in C/XS and Perl.  Two such lay-
       ers (and one example written in Perl using the latter)
       come with the Perl distribution.

           Use ":encoding(ENCODING)" either in open() or bin-
           mode() to install a layer that does transparently
           character set and encoding transformations, for exam-
           ple from Shift-JIS to Unicode.  Note that under
           "stdio" an ":encoding" also enables ":utf8".  See Per-
           lIO::encoding for more information.

           Use ":via(MODULE)" either in open() or binmode() to
           install a layer that does whatever transformation (for
           example compression / decompression, encryption /
           decryption) to the filehandle.  See PerlIO::via for
           more information.

       Alternatives to raw

       To get a binary stream an alternate method is to use:


       this has advantage of being backward compatible with how
       such things have had to be coded on some platforms for

       To get an un-buffered stream specify an unbuffered layer
       (e.g. ":unix") in the open call:


perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          4

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

       Defaults and how to override them

       If the platform is MS-DOS like and normally does CRLF to
       "\n" translation for text files then the default layers
       are :

         unix crlf

       (The low level "unix" layer may be replaced by a platform
       specific low level layer.)

       Otherwise if "Configure" found out how to do "fast" IO
       using system's stdio, then the default layers are:

         unix stdio

       Otherwise the default layers are

         unix perlio

       These defaults may change once perlio has been better
       tested and tuned.

       The default can be overridden by setting the environment
       variable PERLIO to a space separated list of layers
       ("unix" or platform low level layer is always pushed

       This can be used to see the effect of/bugs in the various
       layers e.g.

         cd .../perl/t
         PERLIO=stdio  ./perl harness
         PERLIO=perlio ./perl harness

       For the various value of PERLIO see "PERLIO" in perlrun.

       Querying the layers of filehandles

       The following returns the names of the PerlIO layers on a

          my @layers = PerlIO::get_layers($fh); # Or FH, *FH, "FH".

       The layers are returned in the order an open() or bin-
       mode() call would use them.  Note that the "default stack"
       depends on the operating system and on the Perl version,
       and both the compile-time and runtime configurations of

       The following table summarizes the default layers on UNIX-
       like and DOS-like platforms and depending on the setting
       of the $ENV{PERLIO}:

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          5

PerlIO(3p)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PerlIO(3p)

        PERLIO     UNIX-like                   DOS-like

        unset / "" unix perlio / stdio [1]     unix crlf
        stdio      unix perlio / stdio [1]     stdio
        perlio     unix perlio                 unix perlio
        mmap       unix mmap                   unix mmap

        # [1] "stdio" if Configure found out how to do "fast stdio" (depends
        # on the stdio implementation) and in Perl 5.8, otherwise "unix perlio"

       By default the layers from the input side of the filehan-
       dle is returned, to get the output side use the optional
       "output" argument:

          my @layers = PerlIO::get_layers($fh, output => 1);

       (Usually the layers are identical on either side of a
       filehandle but for example with sockets there may be dif-
       ferences, or if you have been using the "open" pragma.)

       There is no set_layers(), nor does get_layers() return a
       tied array mirroring the stack, or anything fancy like
       that.  This is not accidental or unintentional.  The Per-
       lIO layer stack is a bit more complicated than just a
       stack (see for example the behaviour of ":raw").  You are
       supposed to use open() and binmode() to manipulate the

       Implementation details follow, please close your eyes.

       The arguments to layers are by default returned in paren-
       thesis after the name of the layer, and certain layers
       (like "utf8") are not real layers but instead flags on
       real layers: to get all of these returned separately use
       the optional "details" argument:

          my @layer_and_args_and_flags = PerlIO::get_layers($fh, details => 1);

       The result will be up to be three times the number of lay-
       ers: the first element will be a name, the second element
       the arguments (unspecified arguments will be "undef"), the
       third element the flags, the fourth element a name again,
       and so forth.

       You may open your eyes now.

       Nick Ing-Simmons <nickATing-simmons.net>

       "binmode" in perlfunc, "open" in perlfunc, perlunicode,
       perliol, Encode

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                          6