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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for next (redhat section 3pm)

NEXT(3pm)			 Perl Programmers Reference Guide			NEXT(3pm)

NAME
       NEXT.pm - Provide a pseudo-class NEXT that allows method redispatch

SYNOPSIS
	   use NEXT;

	   package A;
	   sub A::method   { print "$_[0]: A method\n";   $_[0]->NEXT::method() }
	   sub A::DESTROY  { print "$_[0]: A dtor\n";	  $_[0]->NEXT::DESTROY() }

	   package B;
	   use base qw( A );
	   sub B::AUTOLOAD { print "$_[0]: B AUTOLOAD\n"; $_[0]->NEXT::AUTOLOAD() }
	   sub B::DESTROY  { print "$_[0]: B dtor\n";	  $_[0]->NEXT::DESTROY() }

	   package C;
	   sub C::method   { print "$_[0]: C method\n";   $_[0]->NEXT::method() }
	   sub C::AUTOLOAD { print "$_[0]: C AUTOLOAD\n"; $_[0]->NEXT::AUTOLOAD() }
	   sub C::DESTROY  { print "$_[0]: C dtor\n";	  $_[0]->NEXT::DESTROY() }

	   package D;
	   use base qw( B C );
	   sub D::method   { print "$_[0]: D method\n";   $_[0]->NEXT::method() }
	   sub D::AUTOLOAD { print "$_[0]: D AUTOLOAD\n"; $_[0]->NEXT::AUTOLOAD() }
	   sub D::DESTROY  { print "$_[0]: D dtor\n";	  $_[0]->NEXT::DESTROY() }

	   package main;

	   my $obj = bless {}, "D";

	   $obj->method();	       # Calls D::method, A::method, C::method
	   $obj->missing_method(); # Calls D::AUTOLOAD, B::AUTOLOAD, C::AUTOLOAD

	   # Clean-up calls D::DESTROY, B::DESTROY, A::DESTROY, C::DESTROY

DESCRIPTION
       NEXT.pm adds a pseudoclass named "NEXT" to any program that uses it. If a method "m" calls
       "$self-"NEXT::m()>, the call to "m" is redispatched as if the calling method had not orig-
       inally been found.

       In other words, a call to "$self-"NEXT::m()> resumes the depth-first, left-to-right search
       of $self's class hierarchy that resulted in the original call to "m".

       Note that this is not the same thing as "$self-"SUPER::m()>, which begins a new dispatch
       that is restricted to searching the ancestors of the current class. "$self-"NEXT::m()> can
       backtrack past the current class -- to look for a suitable method in other ancestors of
       $self -- whereas "$self-"SUPER::m()> cannot.

       A typical use would be in the destructors of a class hierarchy, as illustrated in the syn-
       opsis above. Each class in the hierarchy has a DESTROY method that performs some class-
       specific action and then redispatches the call up the hierarchy. As a result, when an
       object of class D is destroyed, the destructors of all its parent classes are called (in
       depth-first, left-to-right order).

       Another typical use of redispatch would be in "AUTOLOAD"'ed methods.  If such a method
       determined that it was not able to handle a particular call, it might choose to redispatch
       that call, in the hope that some other "AUTOLOAD" (above it, or to its left) might do bet-
       ter.

       By default, if a redispatch attempt fails to find another method elsewhere in the objects
       class hierarchy, it quietly gives up and does nothing (but see "Enforcing redispatch").
       This gracious acquiesence is also unlike the (generally annoying) behaviour of "SUPER",
       which throws an exception if it cannot redispatch.

       Note that it is a fatal error for any method (including "AUTOLOAD") to attempt to redis-
       patch any method that does not have the same name. For example:

	       sub D::oops { print "oops!\n"; $_[0]->NEXT::other_method() }

       Enforcing redispatch

       It is possible to make "NEXT" redispatch more demandingly (i.e. like "SUPER" does), so
       that the redispatch throws an exception if it cannot find a "next" method to call.

       To do this, simple invoke the redispatch as:

	       $self->NEXT::ACTUAL::method();

       rather than:

	       $self->NEXT::method();

       The "ACTUAL" tells "NEXT" that there must actually be a next method to call, or it should
       throw an exception.

       "NEXT::ACTUAL" is most commonly used in "AUTOLOAD" methods, as a means to decline an
       "AUTOLOAD" request, but preserve the normal exception-on-failure semantics:

	       sub AUTOLOAD {
		       if ($AUTOLOAD =~ /foo|bar/) {
			       # handle here
		       }
		       else {  # try elsewhere
			       shift()->NEXT::ACTUAL::AUTOLOAD(@_);
		       }
	       }

       By using "NEXT::ACTUAL", if there is no other "AUTOLOAD" to handle the method call, an
       exception will be thrown (as usually happens in the absence of a suitable "AUTOLOAD").

       Avoiding repetitions

       If "NEXT" redispatching is used in the methods of a "diamond" class hierarchy:

	       #     A	 B
	       #    / \ /
	       #   C   D
	       #    \ /
	       #     E

	       use NEXT;

	       package A;
	       sub foo { print "called A::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::foo() }

	       package B;
	       sub foo { print "called B::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::foo() }

	       package C; @ISA = qw( A );
	       sub foo { print "called C::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::foo() }

	       package D; @ISA = qw(A B);
	       sub foo { print "called D::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::foo() }

	       package E; @ISA = qw(C D);
	       sub foo { print "called E::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::foo() }

	       E->foo();

       then derived classes may (re-)inherit base-class methods through two or more distinct
       paths (e.g. in the way "E" inherits "A::foo" twice -- through "C" and "D"). In such cases,
       a sequence of "NEXT" redispatches will invoke the multiply inherited method as many times
       as it is inherited. For example, the above code prints:

	       called E::foo
	       called C::foo
	       called A::foo
	       called D::foo
	       called A::foo
	       called B::foo

       (i.e. "A::foo" is called twice).

       In some cases this may be the desired effect within a diamond hierarchy, but in others
       (e.g. for destructors) it may be more appropriate to call each method only once during a
       sequence of redispatches.

       To cover such cases, you can redispatch methods via:

	       $self->NEXT::UNSEEN::method();

       rather than:

	       $self->NEXT::method();

       This causes the redispatcher to skip any classes in the hierarchy that it has already vis-
       ited in an earlier redispatch. So, for example, if the previous example were rewritten:

	       package A;
	       sub foo { print "called A::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::UNSEEN::foo() }

	       package B;
	       sub foo { print "called B::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::UNSEEN::foo() }

	       package C; @ISA = qw( A );
	       sub foo { print "called C::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::UNSEEN::foo() }

	       package D; @ISA = qw(A B);
	       sub foo { print "called D::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::UNSEEN::foo() }

	       package E; @ISA = qw(C D);
	       sub foo { print "called E::foo\n"; shift->NEXT::UNSEEN::foo() }

	       E->foo();

       then it would print:

	       called E::foo
	       called C::foo
	       called A::foo
	       called D::foo
	       called B::foo

       and omit the second call to "A::foo".

       Note that you can also use:

	       $self->NEXT::UNSEEN::ACTUAL::method();

       or:

	       $self->NEXT::ACTUAL::UNSEEN::method();

       to get both unique invocation and exception-on-failure.

AUTHOR
       Damian Conway (damian@conway.org)

BUGS AND IRRITATIONS
       Because it's a module, not an integral part of the interpreter, NEXT.pm has to guess where
       the surrounding call was found in the method look-up sequence. In the presence of diamond
       inheritance patterns it occasionally guesses wrong.

       It's also too slow (despite caching).

       Comment, suggestions, and patches welcome.

COPYRIGHT
	Copyright (c) 2000-2001, Damian Conway. All Rights Reserved.
	This module is free software. It may be used, redistributed
	   and/or modified under the same terms as Perl itself.

perl v5.8.0				    2002-06-01					NEXT(3pm)


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