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Multisub/multimethod (multiple-dispatch subroutine) implementation for Perl
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Sub::Multi::Tiny - Multisubs/multimethods (multiple dispatch) yet another way!


    package main::my_multi;     # We're making main::my_multi()
    use Sub::Multi::Tiny qw($foo $bar);     # All possible params

    sub first :M($foo, $bar) {  # sub's name will be ignored,
        return $foo ** $bar;    # but can't match the one we're making

    sub second :M($foo) {
        return $foo + 42;


# Back in package main, my_multi() is created just before the run phase.
say my_multi(2, 5);     # -> 32
say my_multi(1295);     # -> 1337

Limitation: At present, dispatch is solely by arity, and only one candidate can have each arity. This limitation will be removed in the future.


Sub::Multi::Tiny is a library for making multisubs, aka multimethods, aka multiple-dispatch subroutines. Each multisub is defined in a single package. Within that package, the individual implementations ("impls") are subs tagged with the :M attribute. The names of the impls are preserved but not used specifically by Sub::Multi::Tiny.

Within a multisub package, the name of the sub being defined is available for recursion. For example (using where, not yet implemented):

    package main::fib;
    use Sub::Multi::Tiny qw($n);
    sub base  :M($n where { $_ eq 0 })  { 1 }
    sub other :M($n)                    { $n * fib($n-1) }

This code creates function fib() in package main. Within package main::fib, function fib() is an alias for main::fib(). It's easier to use than to explain!



Sets up the package that uses it to define a multisub. The parameters are all the parameter variables that the multisubs will use. import creates these as package variables so that they can be used unqualified in the multisub implementations.

A parameter D:Dispatcher can also be given to specify the dispatcher to use. If Dispatcher includes a double-colon, it will be used as a full package name. Otherwise, Sub::Multi::Tiny::Dispatcher:: will be prepended.

Also sets "$VERBOSE" in Sub::Multi::Tiny::Util if the environment variable SUB_MULTI_TINY_VERBOSE has a truthy value. If the SUB_MULTI_TINY_VERBOSE value is numeric, $VERBOSE is set to that value; otherwise, $VERBOSE is set to 1.


This module includes a default dispatcher (implemented in Sub::Multi::Tiny::DefaultDispatcher. To use a different dispatcher, define or import a sub MakeDispatcher() into the package before compilation ends. That sub will be called to create the dispatcher. For example:

    package main::foo;
    use Sub::Multi::Tiny;
    sub MakeDispatcher { return sub { ... } }


    package main::foo;
    use Sub::Multi::Tiny;
    use APackageThatImportsMakeDispatcherIntoMainFoo;


For extra debug output, set "$VERBOSE" in Sub::Multi::Tiny::Util to a positive integer. This has to be set at compile time to have any effect. For example, before creating any multisubs, do:

use Sub::Multi::Tiny::Util '*VERBOSE';


  • To be able to use multisubs in pre-5.14 Perls with only built-in language facilities. This will help me make my own modules backward compatible with those Perls.
  • To learn how it's done! :)


I looked at these but decided not to use them for the following reasons:

  • Class::Multimethods

    I wanted a syntax that used normal sub definitions as much as possible. Also, I was a bit concerned by LPALMER's experience that it "does what you don't want sometimes without saying a word" ("Semantics" in Class::Multimethods::Pure).

    Other than that, I think this looks pretty decent (but haven't tried it).

  • Class::Multimethods::Pure

    Same desire for sub syntax. Additionally, the last update was in 2007, and the maintainer hasn't uploaded anything since. Other than that, I think this also looks like a decent option (but haven't tried it).

  • Dios

    This is a full object system, which I do not need in my use case.

  • Logic

    This one is fairly clean, but uses a source filter. I have not had much experience with source filters, so am reluctant.

  • Kavorka::Manual::MultiSubs (and Moops)

    Requires Perl 5.14+.

  • MooseX::MultiMethods

    I am not ready to move to full Moose!

  • MooseX::Params

    As above.

  • Sub::Multi

    The original inspiration for this module, whence this module's name. Sub::Multi uses coderefs, and I wanted a syntax that used normal sub definitions as much as possible.

  • Sub::SmartMatch

    This one looks very interesting, but I haven't used smartmatch enough to be fully comfortable with it.


You can find documentation for this module with the perldoc command.

perldoc Sub::Multi::Tiny

You can also look for information at:


This isn't Damian code ;) .


Chris White


Copyright (C) 2019 Chris White

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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