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Perl Language Reference Manual
by Larry Wall and others
Paperback (6"x9"), 724 pages
ISBN 9781906966027
RRP £29.95 ($39.95)

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do EXPR

Uses the value of EXPR as a filename and executes the contents of the file as a Perl script.

do 'stat.pl';

is just like

eval `cat stat.pl`;

except that it's more efficient and concise, keeps track of the current filename for error messages, searches the @INC directories, and updates %INC if the file is found. See 10.1 for these variables. It also differs in that code evaluated with do FILENAME cannot see lexicals in the enclosing scope; eval STRING does. It's the same, however, in that it does reparse the file every time you call it, so you probably don't want to do this inside a loop.

If do cannot read the file, it returns undef and sets $! to the error. If do can read the file but cannot compile it, it returns undef and sets an error message in $@. If the file is successfully compiled, do returns the value of the last expression evaluated.

Inclusion of library modules is better done with the use and require operators, which also do automatic error checking and raise an exception if there's a problem.

You might like to use do to read in a program configuration file. Manual error checking can be done this way:

# read in config files: system first, then user
for $file ("/share/prog/defaults.rc",
           "$ENV{HOME}/.someprogrc")
{
    unless ($return = do $file) {
        warn "couldn't parse $file: $@" if $@;
        warn "couldn't do $file: $!"    unless defined $return;
        warn "couldn't run $file"       unless $return;
    }
}
ISBN 9781906966027Perl Language Reference ManualSee the print edition