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README.pod

NAME

Data::SplitSerializer - Modules that "split serialize" data structures

SYNOPSIS

use Data::SplitSerializer;
 
my $dss = Data::SplitSerializer->new( path_style => 'DZIL' );
my $serialized = {
   'gophers[0].holes'      => 3,
   'gophers[0].food.type'  => 'grubs',
   'gophers[0].food.count' => 7,
 
   'gophers[1].holes'      => 1,
   'gophers[1].food.type'  => 'fruit',
   'gophers[1].food.count' => 5,
};
my $deserialized = $dss->deserialize($serialized);
 
my $more_gophers = [];
$more_gophers->[2] = {
   holes => 2,
   food  => {
      type  => 'earthworms',
      count => 15,
   },
};
 
$deserialized = $dss->merge( $deserialized, $more_gophers );

DESCRIPTION

Split serialization is a unique form of serialization that only serializes part of the data structure (as a path on the left side) and leaves the rest of the data, typically a scalar, untouched (as a value on the right side). Consider the gopher example above:

my $deserialized = {
   gophers => [
      {
         holes => 3,
         food  => {
            type  => 'grubs',
            count => 7,
         },
      },
      {
         holes => 1,
         food  => {
            type  => 'fruit',
            count => 5,
         },
      },
      {
         holes => 2,
         food  => {
            type  => 'earthworms',
            count => 15,
         },
      }
   ],
};

A full serializer, like Data::Serializer or Data::Dumper, would turn the entire object into a string, much like the real code above. Or into JSON, XML, BerkleyDB, etc. But, the end values would be lost in the stream. If you were given an object like this, how would you be able to store the data in an easy-to-access form for a caching module like CHI? It requires key/value pairs. Same goes for KiokuDB or various other storage/ORM modules.

Data::SplitSerializer uses split serialization to turn the data into a path like this:

my $serialized = {
   'gophers[0].holes'      => 3,
   'gophers[0].food.type'  => 'grubs',
   'gophers[0].food.count' => 7,
 
   'gophers[1].holes'      => 1,
   'gophers[1].food.type'  => 'fruit',
   'gophers[1].food.count' => 5,
 
   'gophers[2].holes'      => 2,
   'gophers[2].food.type'  => 'earthworms',
   'gophers[2].food.count' => 15,
};

Now, you can stash the data into whatever storage engine you want... or use just use it as a simple hash.

CONSTRUCTOR

# Defaults shown
my $stash = Data::Stash->new(
   path_style   => 'DZIL',
   path_options => {
      auto_normalize => 1,
      auto_cleanup   => 1,
   },
);

Creates a new serializer object. Accepts the following arguments:

path_style

path_style => 'File::Unix'
path_style => '=MyApp::Parse::Path::Foobar'

Class used to create new path objects for path parsing. With a = prefix, it will use that as the full class. Otherwise, the class will be intepreted as Parse::Path::$class.

Default is DZIL.

path_options

path_options => {
   auto_normalize => 1,
   auto_cleanup   => 1,
}

Hash of options to pass to new path objects. Typically, the default set of options are recommended to ensure a more commutative path.

remove_undefs

remove_undefs => 0

Boolean to indicate whether to remove See "Undefined values" for more information.

Default is on.

METHODS

serialize

my $serialized = $dss->serialize($deserialized);

Serializes/flattens a ref. Returns a serialized hashref of path/value pairs.

serialize_refpath

my $serialized = $dss->serialize_refpath($path_prefix, $deserialized);
 
# serialize is basically this with some extra sanity checks
my $serialized = $dss->serialize_refpath('', $deserialized);

The real workhorse for serialize_ref. Recursively dives down the different pieces of the deserialized tree and eventually comes back with the serialized hashref. The path prefix can be used for prepending all of the paths returned in the serialized hashref.

deserialize

my $deserialized = $dss->deserialize($serialized);

Deserializes/expands a hash of path/data pairs. Returns the expanded object, which is usually a hashref, but might be an arrayref. For example:

# Starts with an array
my $serialized = {
   '[0].thingy' => 1,
   '[1].thingy' => 2,
};
my $deserialized = $dss->deserialize($serialized);
 
# Returns:
$deserialized = [
   { thingy => 1 },
   { thingy => 2 },
];

deserialize_pathval

my $deserialized = $dss->deserialize_pathval($path, $value);

Deserializes/expands a single path/data pair. Returns the expanded object.

merge

my $newhash = $dss->merge($hash1, $hash2);

Merges two hashes. This is a direct handle to merge from an (internal) Hash::Merge object, and is used by "deserialize" to combine individual expanded objects.

set_merge_behavior

Handle to set_behavior from the (internal) Hash::Merge object. Advanced usage only!

Data::SplitSerializer uses a special custom type called LEFT_PRECEDENT_STRICT_ARRAY_INDEX, which properly handles array indexes and dies on any non-array-or-hash refs.

specify_merge_behavior

Handle to specify_behavior from the (internal) Hash::Merge object. Advanced usage only!

CAVEATS

Undefined values

Flattening will remove path/values if the value is undefined. This is to clean up unused array values that appeared as holes in a sparse array. For example:

# From one of the basic tests
my $round_trip = $dss->serialize( $dss->deserialize_pathval(
   'a[0][1][1][1][1][2].too' => 'long'
) );
 
# Without undef removal, this returns:
$round_trip = {
   'a[0][0]'                 => undef,
   'a[0][1][0]'              => undef,
   'a[0][1][1][0]'           => undef,
   'a[0][1][1][1][0]'        => undef,
   'a[0][1][1][1][1][0]'     => undef,
   'a[0][1][1][1][1][1]'     => undef,
   'a[0][1][1][1][1][2].too' => 'long',
};

You can disable this with the "remove_undefs" switch.

Refs in split serialization

Split serialization works by looking for HASH or ARRAY refs and diving further into them, adding path prefixes as it goes down. If it encounters some other ref (like a SCALAR), it will stop and consider that to be the value for that path. In terms of ref parsing, this means two things:

  1. Only HASH and ARRAYs can be examined deeper.

  2. If you have a HASH or ARRAY as a "value", serialization cannot tell the difference and it will be included in the path.

The former isn't that big of a problem, since deeper dives with other kinds of refs are either not possible or dangerous (like CODE).

The latter could be a problem if you started with a hashref with a path/data pair, expanded it, and tried to flatten it again. This can be solved by protecting the hash with a REF. Consider this example:

my $round_trip = $dss->serialize( $dss->deserialize_pathval(
   'a[0]' => { your => 'hash' }
) );
 
# Returns:
$round_trip = {
   'a[0].your' => 'hash',
};
 
# Now protect the hash
my $round_trip = $dss->serialize( $dss->deserialize_pathval(
   'a[0]' => \{ your => 'hash' }
) );
 
# Returns:
$round_trip = {
   'a[0]' => \{ your => 'hash' }
};

Sparse arrays and memory usage

Since arrays within paths are based on indexes, there's a potential security issue with large indexes causing abnormal memory usage. In Perl, these two arrays would have drastically different memory footprints:

my @small;
$small[0] = 1;
 
my @large;
$large[999999] = 1;

This can be mitigated by making sure the Path style you use will limit the total digits for array indexes. Parse::Path handles this on all of its paths, but it's something to be aware of if you create your own path classes.

TODO

This module might split off into individual split serializers, but so far, this is the only one "out in the wild".

SEE ALSO

Parse::Path

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Kent Fredric for getting me started on the basic idea.

AVAILABILITY

The project homepage is https://github.com/SineSwiper/Data-SplitSerializer/wiki.

The latest version of this module is available from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN). Visit http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ to find a CPAN site near you, or see https://metacpan.org/module/Data::SplitSerializer/.

SUPPORT

Internet Relay Chat

You can get live help by using IRC ( Internet Relay Chat ). If you don't know what IRC is, please read this excellent guide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat. Please be courteous and patient when talking to us, as we might be busy or sleeping! You can join those networks/channels and get help:

  • irc.perl.org

    You can connect to the server at 'irc.perl.org' and talk to this person for help: SineSwiper.

Bugs / Feature Requests

Please report any bugs or feature requests via https://github.com/SineSwiper/Data-SplitSerializer/issues.

AUTHOR

Brendan Byrd <BBYRD@CPAN.org>

CONTRIBUTOR

Brendan Byrd <bbyrd@cpan.org>

COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE

This software is Copyright (c) 2013 by Brendan Byrd.

This is free software, licensed under:

The Artistic License 2.0 (GPL Compatible)
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