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How do I create a static variable?

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How do I create a static variable?

As with most things in Perl, TMTOWTDI. What is a ``static variable'' in other languages could be either a function-private variable (visible only within a single function, retaining its value between calls to that function), or a file-private variable (visible only to functions within the file it was declared in) in Perl.

Here's code to implement a function-private variable:

    BEGIN {
        my $counter = 42;
        sub prev_counter { return --$counter }
        sub next_counter { return $counter++ }

Now prev_counter() and next_counter() share a private variable $counter that was initialized at compile time.

To declare a file-private variable, you'll still use a my(), putting it at the outer scope level at the top of the file. Assume this is in file Pax.pm:

    package Pax;
    my $started = scalar(localtime(time()));

    sub begun { return $started }

When use Pax or require Pax loads this module, the variable will be initialized. It won't get garbage-collected the way most variables going out of scope do, because the begun() function cares about it, but no one else can get it. It is not called $Pax::started because its scope is unrelated to the package. It's scoped to the file. You could conceivably have several packages in that same file all accessing the same private variable, but another file with the same package couldn't get to it.

Source: Perl FAQ: Perl Language Issues
Copyright: Copyright (c) 1997 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington.
Next: What's the difference between dynamic and lexical (static) scoping? Between local() and my()?

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