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Next: Do I always/never have to quote my strings or use semicolons and commas?
They are type specifiers, as detailed in the perldata manpage:
$ for scalar values (number, string or reference)
@ for arrays
% for hashes (associative arrays)
* for all types of that symbol name. In version 4 you used them like
pointers, but in modern perls you can just use references.
While there are a few places where you don't actually need these type
specifiers, you should always use them.
A couple of others that you're likely to encounter
that aren't really type specifiers are:
<> are used for inputting a record from a filehandle.
\ takes a reference to something.
Note that <
FILE> is neither the type specifier for files nor the name of the handle. It is the
<> operator applied to the handle
FILE. It reads one line (well, record - see
$/) from the handle
FILE in scalar context, or all lines in list context. When performing open, close, or any other operation
<> on files, or even talking about the handle, do
not use the brackets. These are correct: eof(FH), seek(FH, 0,
2) and ``copying from
Source: Perl FAQ: Perl Language Issues
Copyright: Copyright (c) 1997 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington.
Previous: Can I get a BNF/yacc/RE for the Perl language?
(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)
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