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Hash with multiple values per key, inspired by MultiDict.py of WebOb

tag: 0.06

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README
NAME
    Hash::MultiValue - Store multiple values per key

SYNOPSIS
      use Hash::MultiValue;

      my $hash = Hash::MultiValue->new(
          foo => 'a',
          foo => 'b',
          bar => 'baz',
      );

      # $hash is an object, but can be used as a hashref and DWIMs!
      my $foo = $hash->{foo};         # 'b' (the last entry)
      my $foo = $hash->get('foo');    # 'b' (always, regardless of context)
      my @foo = $hash->get_all('foo'); # ('a', 'b')

      keys %$hash; # ('foo', 'bar')    not guaranteed to be ordered
      $hash->keys; # ('foo', 'foo', 'bar') guaranteed to be ordered

DESCRIPTION
    Hash::MultiValue is an object (and a plain hash reference) that may
    contain multiple values per key, inspired by MultiDict of WebOb.

WHY THIS MODULE
    In a typical web application, the request parameters (a.k.a CGI
    parameters) can be single value or multi values. Using CGI.pm style
    "param" is one way to deal with this problem (and it is good, as long as
    you're aware of its list context gotcha), but there's another approach
    to convert parameters into a hash reference, like Catalyst's
    "$c->req->parameters" does, and it sucks.

    Why? Because the value could be just a scalar if there is one value and
    an array ref if there are multiple, depending on *user input* rather
    than *how you code it*. So your code should always be like this to be
    defensive:

      my $p = $c->req->parameters;
      my @maybe_multi = ref $p->{m} eq 'ARRAY' ? @{$p->{m}} : ($p->{m});
      my $must_single = ref $p->{m} eq 'ARRAY' ? $p->{m}->[0] : $p->{m};

    Otherwise you'll get a random runtime exception of *Can't use string as
    an ARRAY ref* or get stringified array *ARRAY(0xXXXXXXXXX)* as a string,
    *depending on user input* and that is miserable and insecure.

    This module provides a solution to this by making it behave like a
    single value hash reference, but also has an API to get multiple values
    on demand, explicitly.

HOW THIS WORKS
    The object returned by "new" is a blessed hash reference that contains
    the last entry of the same key if there are multiple values, but it also
    keeps the original pair state in the object tracker (a.k.a inside out
    objects) and allows you to access the original pairs and multiple values
    via the method calls, such as "get_all" or "flatten".

    This module does not use "tie" or overload and is quite fast.

    Yes, there is Tie::Hash::MultiValue and this module tries to solve
    exactly the same problem, but using a different implementation.

UPDATING CONTENTS
    When you update the content of the hash, DO NOT UPDATE using the hash
    reference interface: this won't write through to the tracking object.

      my $hash = Hash::MultiValue->new(...);

      # WRONG
      $hash->{foo} = 'bar';
      delete $hash->{foo};

      # Correct
      $hash->add(foo => 'bar');
      $hash->remove('foo');

    See below for the list of updating methods.

METHODS
    new
          $hash = Hash::MultiValue->new(@pairs);

        Creates a new object that can be treated as a plain hash reference
        as well.

    get
          $value = $hash->get($key);
          $value = $hash->{$key};

        Returns a single value for the given $key. If there are multiple
        values, the last one (not first one) is returned. See below for why.

        Note that this always returns the single element as a scalar,
        regardless of its context, unlike CGI.pm's "param" method etc.

    get_one
          $value = $hash->get_one($key);

        Returns a single value for the given $key. This method croaks if
        there is no value or multiple values associated with the key, so you
        should wrap it with eval or modules like Try::Tiny.

    get_all
          @values = $hash->get_all($key);

        Returns a list of values for the given $key. This method always
        returns a list regardless of its context. If there is no value
        attached, the result will be an empty list.

    keys
          @keys = $hash->keys;

        Returns a list of all keys, including duplicates (see the example in
        the "SYNOPSIS").

        If you want only unique keys, use "keys %$hash", as normal.

    values
          @values = $hash->values;

        Returns a list of all values, in the same order as "$hash->keys".

    add
          $hash->add($key, $value [, $value ... ]);

        Appends a new value to the given $key. This updates the value of
        "$hash->{$key}" as well so it always points to the last value.

    remove
          $hash->remove($key);

        Removes a key and associated values for the given $key.

    clear
          $hash->clear;

        Clears the hash to be an empty hash reference.

    flatten
          @pairs = $hash->flatten;

        Gets pairs of keys and values. This should be exactly the same pairs
        which are given to "new" method unless you updated the data.

    each
          $hash->each($code);

          # e.g.
          $hash->each(sub { print "$_[0] = $_[1]\n" });

        Calls $code once for each "($key, $value)" pair. This is a more
        convenient alternative to calling "flatten" and then iterating over
        it two items at a time.

        Inside $code, $_ contains the current iteration through the loop,
        starting at 0. For example:

          $hash = Hash::MultiValue->new(a => 1, b => 2, c => 3, a => 4);

          $hash->each(sub { print "$_: $_[0] = $_[1]\n" });
          # 0: a = 1
          # 1: b = 2
          # 2: c = 3
          # 3: a = 4

        Be careful not to change @_ inside your coderef! It will update the
        tracking object but not the plain hash. In the future, this
        limitation may be removed.

    clone
          $new = $hash->clone;

        Creates a new Hash::MultiValue object that represents the same data,
        but obviously not sharing the reference. It's identical to:

          $new = Hash::MultiValue->new($hash->flatten);

    as_hashref
          $copy = $hash->as_hashref;

        Creates a new plain (unblessed) hash reference where a value is a
        single scalar. It's identical to:

          $copy = +{%$hash};

    as_hashref_mixed, mixed
          $mixed = $hash->as_hashref_mixed;
          $mixed = $hash->mixed;

        Creates a new plain (unblessed) hash reference where the value is a
        single scalar, or an array ref when there are multiple values for a
        same key. Handy to create a hash reference that is often used in web
        application frameworks request objects such as Catalyst. Ths method
        does exactly the opposite of "from_mixed".

    as_hashref_multi, multi
          $multi = $hash->as_hashref_multi
          $multi = $hash->multi

        Creates a new plain (unblessed) hash reference where values are all
        array references, regardless of there are single or multiple values
        for a same key.

    from_mixed
          $hash = Hash::MultiValue->from_mixed({
              foo => [ 'a', 'b' ],
              bar => 'c',
          });

        Creates a new object out of a hash reference where the value is
        single or an array ref depending on the number of elements. Handy to
        convert from those request objects used in web frameworks such as
        Catalyst. This method does exactly the opposite of
        "as_hashref_mixed".

WHY LAST NOT FIRST?
    You might wonder why this module uses the *last* value of the same key
    instead of *first*. There's no strong reasoning on this decision since
    one is as arbitrary as the other, but this is more consistent to what
    Perl does:

      sub x {
          return ('a', 'b', 'c');
      }

      my $x = x(); # $x = 'c'

      my %a = ( a => 1 );
      my %b = ( a => 2 );

      my %m = (%a, %b); # $m{a} = 2

    When perl gets a list in a scalar context it gets the last entry. Also
    if you merge hashes having a same key, the last one wins.

NOTES ON ref
    If you pass this MultiValue hash object to some upstream functions that
    you can't control and does things like:

      if (ref $args eq 'HASH') {
          ...
      }

    because this is a blessed hash reference it doesn't match and would
    fail. To avoid that you should call "as_hashref" to get a *finalized* (=
    non-blessed) hash reference.

    You can also use UNIVERSAL::ref to make it work magically:

      use Hash::MultiValue;

      {
        package Hash::MultiValue; # You need this
        use UNIVERSAL::ref;
      }

    and then all "ref" calls to Hash::MultiValue objects will return *HASH*.

AUTHOR
    Tatsuhiko Miyagawa <miyagawa@bulknews.net>

    Aristotle Pagaltzis

    Hans Dieter Pearcey

    Thanks to Michael Peters for the suggestion to use inside-out objects
    instead of tie.

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

SEE ALSO
    *   <http://pythonpaste.org/webob/#multidict>

    *   Tie::Hash::MultiValue

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