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NAME
    Tie::File::FixedRecLen - Fixed Length Record support for Tie:File

VERSION
    version 2.112531

SYNOPSIS
     # for typical read/write random access...

     use Tie::File::FixedRecLen;
 
     tie @array, 'Tie::File::FixedRecLen', $file, record_length => 20
         or die ...;
 
     # or for faster, sequential write-only use...
 
     use Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store;
 
     tie @array, 'Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store', $file, record_length => 20
         or die ...;

DESCRIPTION
    Use Tie::File::FixedRecLen as a drop-in replacement to Tie::File in
    order to add support for fixed length records within your tied files.
    When tieing to a file, you must specify the length of a record in the
    file. This length does not include the record separator character(s).

    Apart from the configuration parameters mentioned below, you should use
    Tie::File::FixedRecLen in just the same way as Tie::File. This module is
    designed to create files which are read/write compatible with Tie::File;

    Please take just a minute to read the "CAVEATS" section, below.

    There is an ancilliary module, Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store, which
    provides a subset of the features of Tie::File::FixedRecLen. It is
    designed for fast, write-only, sequential data logging. More information
    is given in the "STORE MODULE" section, below.

CAVEATS
    *   Tie::File::FixedRecLen is written for Tie::File 0.97, and cannot be
        used with any other version of that module. This is because there is
        no formlized API into Tie::File, so it's quite likely things will
        break as Tie::File's internals are changed. Sorry about that.

    *   Do not try using cacheing or deferred writing, at least not yet.
        Tie::File is quite a complicated beast, so to make life simpler for
        Tie::File::FixedRecLen it does not try to cope with cacheing or
        deferring.

    *   In Tie::File you could include the record separator character(s)
        *within* a record, and although the module might get confused, the
        file would still be valid. In Tie::File::FixedRecLen this is a
        really bad thing to do, so please don't. Indeed, trailing multiple
        record separator character(s) on a field will be (sliently) stripped
        and replaced by a single record separator.

    *   Anyone with multi-byte character set experience is very welcome to
        lend support in making this module work in those environments.
        Currently my best guess is that things will break if this module is
        used with multi-byte character set files.

CONFIGURATION
    There are three configuration parameters you can pass when tieing to a
    file (in addition to those offered by Tie::File). This module does not
    support the fancy "-" prefix to option names that you have with
    Tie::File.

    record_length
        This parameter is required. It specifies the length (in bytes) of a
        record in the tied file. "record_length" must be an integer, and it
        must be greater than zero. Each time a record is read or written, it
        is compared to this length, and an error is raised if there is a
        mismatch.

        When writing records to the tied file, they are padded out to
        "record_length" if necessary. Be aware that this length does not
        include the record separator.

    pad_char
        This parameter is optional.

        Records will be padded with this character until they are
        "record_length" bytes in length. You should make this a single byte
        character, otherwise things are likely to break.

        The default padding character is the space character. This allows
        the tied file to remain readable by a human. If you use leading or
        trailing space characters in your records, then select another
        character, and if you are not bothered about human readability, it
        could be a control character (e.g. "^G").

    pad_dir
        This parameter is optional.

        Records may be padded out to the record length either before the
        first character or after the last character.

        Set this option to "right" if you would prefer end padding; the
        default is to pad with the "pad_char" character before the first
        character of the record data. For example with "right" padding, a
        record length of 10 and pad character of '.':

         data: "abc123"
         written record: "abc123....\n"
         returned data when read back: "abc123"

        And with the same settings except we'll use the module's default
        "left" padding this time:

         data: "abc123"
         written record: "....abc123\n"
         returned data when read back: "abc123"

DIAGNOSTICS
    "Tie::File::FixedRecLen written for Tie::File 0.97"
        The Tie::File programmers' API is not standardized, and may change
        in the future. You must have version 0.97 of Tie::File to use this
        version of Tie::File::FixedRecLen.

    "Useless use of Tie::File::FixedRecLen without a record_length"
        You have forgotten to provide the "record_length" parameter when
        tieing your file, or it is there but is not a positive integer.

    "Record '...' does not match set length (...)"
        When reading a record from the tied file, it is not the expected
        "record_length" in size. Are you sure the file was created and
        written by Tie::File::FixedRecLen?

    "Record '...' exceeds fixed record length (...)"
        When attempting to write a record to the tied file, you have passed
        data which exceeds "record_length" in size. Please don't do that.

    "File does not appear to be using fixed length records"
        Internally, Tie::File and Tie::File::FixedRecLen compute offset
        markers for each record in the file. This error indicates the file
        is not a whole multiple of "record_length" (+ "recsep"'s length) in
        size, which probably means it is not a Tie::File::FixedRecLen file.

STORE MODULE
  Rationale
    The project for which Tie::File::FixedRecLen was written required very
    fast logging of polled SNMP data, of the order of thousands of variables
    every couple of minutes, to a remote networked server, for a period of
    many years.

    This requires very fast writes indeed on the storage server, so you will
    find Tie::File::FixedRecLen to be a lot quicker than Tie::File (for most
    operations), at the obvious cost of storage space. However this module
    still suffers in that by using the core of Tie::File, its write time is
    still proportional to the size of the file. There is no easy way around
    this. Whilst the effect is measured in the milliseconds as file size
    grows, it is not suitable for use over a period of years.

    Hence the ancilliary module Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store was written,
    for really fast writes in a file format compatible with Tie::File and
    Tie::File::FixedRecLen, with some compromise in functionality.

  Usage
    Use Tie::File::FixedRecLen for write-only, sequential storage of
    fixed-length record data.

    Records can only be written (not read), and only at the end of an array
    ("push"), although this may be at the immediate end or at some further
    point and the file will be suitably padded.

    The module has a very simple interface:

     use Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store;
 
     tie @store, 'Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store', $filename, record_length => $record_length
        or die...

    Note that Tie::File::FixedRecLen::Store accepts the "record_length",
    "recsep" and "pad_char" options just like Tie::File::FixedRecLen.
    However, padding in the elements is always "left" (i.e. element start)
    and there is currently no option to change this.

    Other than that, you can use any write method on the array, for example:

     push @store, 'item';
     push @store, 'item1', 'item2', 'etc';
     $store[10] = 'value'; # only if $#store < 10
     $#store = 20; # again, only if $#store < 20

    If you try to operate on the array in any other fashion, for instance to
    "pop" an element, the module will die.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    *   Naturally this would not be here without the excellent Tie::File
        module.

    *   Tie::File::VERSION check bug - Tom Hukins

    *   Thanks to my wife Suzanne, for her patience whilst I whined about
        not being able to get the performance I wanted out of this project.

AUTHOR
    Oliver Gorwits <oliver@cpan.org>

COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE
    This software is copyright (c) 2011 by University of Oxford.

    This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under
    the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.