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Devel::Peek(3pm)		 Perl Programmers Reference Guide		 Devel::Peek(3pm)

NAME
       Devel::Peek - A data debugging tool for the XS programmer

SYNOPSIS
	       use Devel::Peek;
	       Dump( $a );
	       Dump( $a, 5 );
	       DumpArray( 5, $a, $b, ... );
	       mstat "Point 5";

	       use Devel::Peek ':opd=st';

DESCRIPTION
       Devel::Peek contains functions which allows raw Perl datatypes to be manipulated from a
       Perl script.  This is used by those who do XS programming to check that the data they are
       sending from C to Perl looks as they think it should look.  The trick, then, is to know
       what the raw datatype is supposed to look like when it gets to Perl.  This document offers
       some tips and hints to describe good and bad raw data.

       It is very possible that this document will fall far short of being useful to the casual
       reader.	The reader is expected to understand the material in the first few sections of
       perlguts.

       Devel::Peek supplies a "Dump()" function which can dump a raw Perl datatype, and
       "mstat("marker")" function to report on memory usage (if perl is compiled with
       corresponding option).  The function DeadCode() provides statistics on the data "frozen"
       into inactive "CV".  Devel::Peek also supplies "SvREFCNT()", "SvREFCNT_inc()", and
       "SvREFCNT_dec()" which can query, increment, and decrement reference counts on SVs.  This
       document will take a passive, and safe, approach to data debugging and for that it will
       describe only the "Dump()" function.

       Function "DumpArray()" allows dumping of multiple values (useful when you need to analyze
       returns of functions).

       The global variable $Devel::Peek::pv_limit can be set to limit the number of character
       printed in various string values.  Setting it to 0 means no limit.

       If "use Devel::Peek" directive has a ":opd=FLAGS" argument, this switches on debugging of
       opcode dispatch.  "FLAGS" should be a combination of "s", "t", and "P" (see -D flags in
       perlrun).  ":opd" is a shortcut for ":opd=st".

   Runtime debugging
       "CvGV($cv)" return one of the globs associated to a subroutine reference $cv.

       debug_flags() returns a string representation of $^D (similar to what is allowed for -D
       flag).  When called with a numeric argument, sets $^D to the corresponding value.  When
       called with an argument of the form "flags-flags", set on/off bits of $^D corresponding to
       letters before/after "-".  (The returned value is for $^D before the modification.)

       runops_debug() returns true if the current opcode dispatcher is the debugging one.  When
       called with an argument, switches to debugging or non-debugging dispatcher depending on
       the argument (active for newly-entered subs/etc only).  (The returned value is for the
       dispatcher before the modification.)

   Memory footprint debugging
       When perl is compiled with support for memory footprint debugging (default with Perl's
       malloc()), Devel::Peek provides an access to this API.

       Use mstat() function to emit a memory state statistic to the terminal.  For more
       information on the format of output of mstat() see "Using $ENV{PERL_DEBUG_MSTATS}" in
       perldebguts.

       Three additional functions allow access to this statistic from Perl.  First, use
       "mstats_fillhash(%hash)" to get the information contained in the output of mstat() into
       %hash. The field of this hash are

	 minbucket nbuckets sbrk_good sbrk_slack sbrked_remains sbrks start_slack
	 topbucket topbucket_ev topbucket_odd total total_chain total_sbrk totfree

       Two additional fields "free", "used" contain array references which provide per-bucket
       count of free and used chunks.  Two other fields "mem_size", "available_size" contain
       array references which provide the information about the allocated size and usable size of
       chunks in each bucket.  Again, see "Using $ENV{PERL_DEBUG_MSTATS}" in perldebguts for
       details.

       Keep in mind that only the first several "odd-numbered" buckets are used, so the
       information on size of the "odd-numbered" buckets which are not used is probably
       meaningless.

       The information in

	mem_size available_size minbucket nbuckets

       is the property of a particular build of perl, and does not depend on the current process.
       If you do not provide the optional argument to the functions mstats_fillhash(),
       fill_mstats(), mstats2hash(), then the information in fields "mem_size", "available_size"
       is not updated.

       "fill_mstats($buf)" is a much cheaper call (both speedwise and memory-wise) which collects
       the statistic into $buf in machine-readable form.  At a later moment you may need to call
       "mstats2hash($buf, %hash)" to use this information to fill %hash.

       All three APIs "fill_mstats($buf)", "mstats_fillhash(%hash)", and "mstats2hash($buf,
       %hash)" are designed to allocate no memory if used the second time on the same $buf and/or
       %hash.

       So, if you want to collect memory info in a cycle, you may call

	 $#buf = 999;
	 fill_mstats($_) for @buf;
	 mstats_fillhash(%report, 1);	       # Static info too

	 foreach (@buf) {
	   # Do something...
	   fill_mstats $_;		       # Collect statistic
	 }
	 foreach (@buf) {
	   mstats2hash($_, %report);	       # Preserve static info
	   # Do something with %report
	 }

EXAMPLES
       The following examples don't attempt to show everything as that would be a monumental
       task, and, frankly, we don't want this manpage to be an internals document for Perl.  The
       examples do demonstrate some basics of the raw Perl datatypes, and should suffice to get
       most determined people on their way.  There are no guidewires or safety nets, nor blazed
       trails, so be prepared to travel alone from this point and on and, if at all possible,
       don't fall into the quicksand (it's bad for business).

       Oh, one final bit of advice: take perlguts with you.  When you return we expect to see it
       well-thumbed.

   A simple scalar string
       Let's begin by looking a simple scalar which is holding a string.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = "hello";
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = PVIV(0xbc288)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (POK,pPOK)
		 IV = 0
		 PV = 0xb2048 "hello"\0
		 CUR = 5
		 LEN = 6

       This says $a is an SV, a scalar.  The scalar is a PVIV, a string.  Its reference count is
       1.  It has the "POK" flag set, meaning its current PV field is valid.  Because POK is set
       we look at the PV item to see what is in the scalar.  The \0 at the end indicate that this
       PV is properly NUL-terminated.  If the FLAGS had been IOK we would look at the IV item.
       CUR indicates the number of characters in the PV.  LEN indicates the number of bytes
       requested for the PV (one more than CUR, in this case, because LEN includes an extra byte
       for the end-of-string marker).

   A simple scalar number
       If the scalar contains a number the raw SV will be leaner.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = 42;
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = IV(0xbc818)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 42

       This says $a is an SV, a scalar.  The scalar is an IV, a number.  Its reference count is
       1.  It has the "IOK" flag set, meaning it is currently being evaluated as a number.
       Because IOK is set we look at the IV item to see what is in the scalar.

   A simple scalar with an extra reference
       If the scalar from the previous example had an extra reference:

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = 42;
	       $b = \$a;
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = IV(0xbe860)
		 REFCNT = 2
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 42

       Notice that this example differs from the previous example only in its reference count.
       Compare this to the next example, where we dump $b instead of $a.

   A reference to a simple scalar
       This shows what a reference looks like when it references a simple scalar.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = 42;
	       $b = \$a;
	       Dump $b;

       The output:

	       SV = RV(0xf041c)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0xbab08
	       SV = IV(0xbe860)
		 REFCNT = 2
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 42

       Starting from the top, this says $b is an SV.  The scalar is an RV, a reference.  It has
       the "ROK" flag set, meaning it is a reference.  Because ROK is set we have an RV item
       rather than an IV or PV.  Notice that Dump follows the reference and shows us what $b was
       referencing.  We see the same $a that we found in the previous example.

       Note that the value of "RV" coincides with the numbers we see when we stringify $b. The
       addresses inside RV() and IV() are addresses of "X***" structure which holds the current
       state of an "SV". This address may change during lifetime of an SV.

   A reference to an array
       This shows what a reference to an array looks like.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = [42];
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = RV(0xf041c)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0xb2850
	       SV = PVAV(0xbd448)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = ()
		 IV = 0
		 NV = 0
		 ARRAY = 0xb2048
		 ALLOC = 0xb2048
		 FILL = 0
		 MAX = 0
		 ARYLEN = 0x0
		 FLAGS = (REAL)
	       Elt No. 0 0xb5658
	       SV = IV(0xbe860)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 42

       This says $a is an SV and that it is an RV.  That RV points to another SV which is a PVAV,
       an array.  The array has one element, element zero, which is another SV. The field "FILL"
       above indicates the last element in the array, similar to "$#$a".

       If $a pointed to an array of two elements then we would see the following.

	       use Devel::Peek 'Dump';
	       $a = [42,24];
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = RV(0xf041c)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0xb2850
	       SV = PVAV(0xbd448)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = ()
		 IV = 0
		 NV = 0
		 ARRAY = 0xb2048
		 ALLOC = 0xb2048
		 FILL = 0
		 MAX = 0
		 ARYLEN = 0x0
		 FLAGS = (REAL)
	       Elt No. 0  0xb5658
	       SV = IV(0xbe860)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 42
	       Elt No. 1  0xb5680
	       SV = IV(0xbe818)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 24

       Note that "Dump" will not report all the elements in the array, only several first
       (depending on how deep it already went into the report tree).

   A reference to a hash
       The following shows the raw form of a reference to a hash.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = {hello=>42};
	       Dump $a;

       The output:

	       SV = RV(0x8177858) at 0x816a618
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0x814fc10
		 SV = PVHV(0x8167768) at 0x814fc10
		   REFCNT = 1
		   FLAGS = (SHAREKEYS)
		   IV = 1
		   NV = 0
		   ARRAY = 0x816c5b8  (0:7, 1:1)
		   hash quality = 100.0%
		   KEYS = 1
		   FILL = 1
		   MAX = 7
		   RITER = -1
		   EITER = 0x0
		   Elt "hello" HASH = 0xc8fd181b
		   SV = IV(0x816c030) at 0x814fcf4
		     REFCNT = 1
		     FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		     IV = 42

       This shows $a is a reference pointing to an SV.	That SV is a PVHV, a hash. Fields RITER
       and EITER are used by "each".

       The "quality" of a hash is defined as the total number of comparisons needed to access
       every element once, relative to the expected number needed for a random hash. The value
       can go over 100%.

       The total number of comparisons is equal to the sum of the squares of the number of
       entries in each bucket.	For a random hash of "<n"> keys into "<k"> buckets, the expected
       value is:

		       n + n(n-1)/2k

   Dumping a large array or hash
       The "Dump()" function, by default, dumps up to 4 elements from a toplevel array or hash.
       This number can be increased by supplying a second argument to the function.

	       use Devel::Peek;
	       $a = [10,11,12,13,14];
	       Dump $a;

       Notice that "Dump()" prints only elements 10 through 13 in the above code.  The following
       code will print all of the elements.

	       use Devel::Peek 'Dump';
	       $a = [10,11,12,13,14];
	       Dump $a, 5;

   A reference to an SV which holds a C pointer
       This is what you really need to know as an XS programmer, of course.  When an XSUB returns
       a pointer to a C structure that pointer is stored in an SV and a reference to that SV is
       placed on the XSUB stack.  So the output from an XSUB which uses something like the
       T_PTROBJ map might look something like this:

	       SV = RV(0xf381c)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0xb8ad8
	       SV = PVMG(0xbb3c8)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (OBJECT,IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 729160
		 NV = 0
		 PV = 0
		 STASH = 0xc1d10       "CookBookB::Opaque"

       This shows that we have an SV which is an RV.  That RV points at another SV.  In this case
       that second SV is a PVMG, a blessed scalar.  Because it is blessed it has the "OBJECT"
       flag set.  Note that an SV which holds a C pointer also has the "IOK" flag set.	The
       "STASH" is set to the package name which this SV was blessed into.

       The output from an XSUB which uses something like the T_PTRREF map, which doesn't bless
       the object, might look something like this:

	       SV = RV(0xf381c)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (ROK)
		 RV = 0xb8ad8
	       SV = PVMG(0xbb3c8)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
		 IV = 729160
		 NV = 0
		 PV = 0

   A reference to a subroutine
       Looks like this:

	       SV = RV(0x798ec)
		 REFCNT = 1
		 FLAGS = (TEMP,ROK)
		 RV = 0x1d453c
	       SV = PVCV(0x1c768c)
		 REFCNT = 2
		 FLAGS = ()
		 IV = 0
		 NV = 0
		 COMP_STASH = 0x31068  "main"
		 START = 0xb20e0
		 ROOT = 0xbece0
		 XSUB = 0x0
		 XSUBANY = 0
		 GVGV::GV = 0x1d44e8   "MY" :: "top_targets"
		 FILE = "(eval 5)"
		 DEPTH = 0
		 PADLIST = 0x1c9338

       This shows that

       o   the subroutine is not an XSUB (since "START" and "ROOT" are non-zero, and "XSUB" is
	   zero);

       o   that it was compiled in the package "main";

       o   under the name "MY::top_targets";

       o   inside a 5th eval in the program;

       o   it is not currently executed (see "DEPTH");

       o   it has no prototype ("PROTOTYPE" field is missing).

EXPORTS
       "Dump", "mstat", "DeadCode", "DumpArray", "DumpWithOP" and "DumpProg", "fill_mstats",
       "mstats_fillhash", "mstats2hash" by default. Additionally available "SvREFCNT",
       "SvREFCNT_inc" and "SvREFCNT_dec".

BUGS
       Readers have been known to skip important parts of perlguts, causing much frustration for
       all.

AUTHOR
       Ilya Zakharevich    ilya@math.ohio-state.edu

       Copyright (c) 1995-98 Ilya Zakharevich. All rights reserved.  This program is free
       software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

       Author of this software makes no claim whatsoever about suitability, reliability,
       edability, editability or usability of this product, and should not be kept liable for any
       damage resulting from the use of it. If you can use it, you are in luck, if not, I should
       not be kept responsible. Keep a handy copy of your backup tape at hand.

SEE ALSO
       perlguts, and perlguts, again.

perl v5.12.1				    2010-04-26				 Devel::Peek(3pm)
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