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Re: [perl #20661] Constant strings representing a number can BECOME numbers

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February 12, 2003 14:13
Re: [perl #20661] Constant strings representing a number can BECOME numbers
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In article <>, writes:
> " (via RT)" <> wrote:
>:perl -wle 'sub fun { print+(shift() & "+0") eq "0" ? "yes" : "no"} fun("waf"); fun(0); fun("waf")'
>:perl -wle 'sub fun { my $str = shift; print "$str: ", ($str & "+0") eq "0" ? "numeric" : "string"} fun("waf"); fun(0); fun("waf")'
>:waf: string
>:0: numeric
>:Argument "waf" isn't numeric in bitwise and (&) at -e line 1.
>:waf: numeric
>:This was code attempting to determine if a passed argument was "really"
>:numeric at the perl level or not.
>:However, it seems that once "+0" has interacted in the & with a number, it
>:starts to behave like the number 0, so from then on on strings you get the
>:warning and and everything looks like a number.
>:While this is "normal" behaviour for variables, I don't think that 
>:constant strings like "+0" should do that.
> Hmm, tricky I think. In most cases, caching conversion results for
> constants is a desirable thing to do.

Is it really ? How often would somebody write e.g.

$x += "1" ?

> In this case, the easiest way to avoid it is not to be a constant:
>   sub fun { my $z = "+0"; my $str = shift; print "$str: ", ($str & $z) eq "0" ? "numeric" :"string"}
> What else is broken by upgrading constants in this way?

It probably only matters in the cases where the behaviour of string 
and number differ, which is only the bitops I think. Since these are known
for their iffy behaviour, how about just doing the constant upgrade in
general, *except* when involved in a bitop ? If someone writes
$var & "0", he probably *cares*.

Mmm, can the constant conversion actually be done at compile time,
since it's already known there in what kind of operation the constant is
involved ?

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