perldbmfilter



PERLDBMFILTER(1)       Perl Programmers Reference Guide       PERLDBMFILTER(1)




NAME

       perldbmfilter - Perl DBM Filters


SYNOPSIS

           $db = tie %hash, ’DBM’, ...

           $old_filter = $db->filter_store_key  ( sub { ... } ) ;
           $old_filter = $db->filter_store_value( sub { ... } ) ;
           $old_filter = $db->filter_fetch_key  ( sub { ... } ) ;
           $old_filter = $db->filter_fetch_value( sub { ... } ) ;


DESCRIPTION

       The four "filter_*" methods shown above are available in all the DBM
       modules that ship with Perl, namely DB_File, GDBM_File, NDBM_File,
       ODBM_File and SDBM_File.

       Each of the methods work identically, and are used to install (or unin-
       stall) a single DBM Filter. The only difference between them is the
       place that the filter is installed.

       To summarise:

       filter_store_key
            If a filter has been installed with this method, it will be
            invoked every time you write a key to a DBM database.

       filter_store_value
            If a filter has been installed with this method, it will be
            invoked every time you write a value to a DBM database.

       filter_fetch_key
            If a filter has been installed with this method, it will be
            invoked every time you read a key from a DBM database.

       filter_fetch_value
            If a filter has been installed with this method, it will be
            invoked every time you read a value from a DBM database.

       You can use any combination of the methods from none to all four.

       All filter methods return the existing filter, if present, or "undef"
       in not.

       To delete a filter pass "undef" to it.

       The Filter

       When each filter is called by Perl, a local copy of $_ will contain the
       key or value to be filtered. Filtering is achieved by modifying the
       contents of $_. The return code from the filter is ignored.

       An Example -- the NULL termination problem.

       DBM Filters are useful for a class of problems where you always want to
       make the same transformation to all keys, all values or both.

       For example, consider the following scenario. You have a DBM database
       that you need to share with a third-party C application. The C applica-
       tion assumes that all keys and values are NULL terminated. Unfortu-
       nately when Perl writes to DBM databases it doesn’t use NULL termina-
       tion, so your Perl application will have to manage NULL termination
       itself. When you write to the database you will have to use something
       like this:

           $hash{"$key\0"} = "$value\0" ;

       Similarly the NULL needs to be taken into account when you are consid-
       ering the length of existing keys/values.

       It would be much better if you could ignore the NULL terminations issue
       in the main application code and have a mechanism that automatically
       added the terminating NULL to all keys and values whenever you write to
       the database and have them removed when you read from the database. As
       I’m sure you have already guessed, this is a problem that DBM Filters
       can fix very easily.

           use strict ;
           use warnings ;
           use SDBM_File ;
           use Fcntl ;

           my %hash ;
           my $filename = "filt" ;
           unlink $filename ;

           my $db = tie(%hash, ’SDBM_File’, $filename, O_RDWR│O_CREAT, 0640)
             or die "Cannot open $filename: $!\n" ;

           # Install DBM Filters
           $db->filter_fetch_key  ( sub { s/\0$//    } ) ;
           $db->filter_store_key  ( sub { $_ .= "\0" } ) ;
           $db->filter_fetch_value(
               sub { no warnings ’uninitialized’ ;s/\0$// } ) ;
           $db->filter_store_value( sub { $_ .= "\0" } ) ;

           $hash{"abc"} = "def" ;
           my $a = $hash{"ABC"} ;
           # ...
           undef $db ;
           untie %hash ;

       The code above uses SDBM_File, but it will work with any of the DBM
       modules.

       Hopefully the contents of each of the filters should be self-explana-
       tory. Both "fetch" filters remove the terminating NULL, and both
       "store" filters add a terminating NULL.

       Another Example -- Key is a C int.

       Here is another real-life example. By default, whenever Perl writes to
       a DBM database it always writes the key and value as strings. So when
       you use this:

           $hash{12345} = "something" ;

       the key 12345 will get stored in the DBM database as the 5 byte string
       "12345". If you actually want the key to be stored in the DBM database
       as a C int, you will have to use "pack" when writing, and "unpack" when
       reading.

       Here is a DBM Filter that does it:

           use strict ;
           use warnings ;
           use DB_File ;
           my %hash ;
           my $filename = "filt" ;
           unlink $filename ;

           my $db = tie %hash, ’DB_File’, $filename, O_CREAT│O_RDWR, 0666, $DB_HASH
             or die "Cannot open $filename: $!\n" ;

           $db->filter_fetch_key  ( sub { $_ = unpack("i", $_) } ) ;
           $db->filter_store_key  ( sub { $_ = pack ("i", $_) } ) ;
           $hash{123} = "def" ;
           # ...
           undef $db ;
           untie %hash ;

       The code above uses DB_File, but again it will work with any of the DBM
       modules.

       This time only two filters have been used -- we only need to manipulate
       the contents of the key, so it wasn’t necessary to install any value
       filters.


SEE ALSO

       DB_File, GDBM_File, NDBM_File, ODBM_File and SDBM_File.


AUTHOR

       Paul Marquess



perl v5.8.6                       2004-11-05                  PERLDBMFILTER(1)

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