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NAME

       PerlIO - On demand loader for PerlIO layers and root of PerlIO::* name space

SYNOPSIS

         open($fh, "<:crlf", "my.txt"); # support platform-native and
                                        # CRLF text files

         open($fh, "<", "his.jpg"); # portably open a binary file for reading
         binmode($fh);

         Shell:
           PERLIO=perlio perl ....

DESCRIPTION

       When an undefined layer 'foo' is encountered in an "open" or "binmode" layer specification
       then C code performs the equivalent of:

         use PerlIO 'foo';

       The perl code in PerlIO.pm then attempts to locate a layer by doing

         require PerlIO::foo;

       Otherwise the "PerlIO" package is a place holder for additional PerlIO related functions.

       The following layers are currently defined:

       :unix
           Lowest level layer which provides basic PerlIO operations in terms of UNIX/POSIX
           numeric file descriptor calls (open(), read(), write(), lseek(), close()).

       :stdio
           Layer which calls "fread", "fwrite" and "fseek"/"ftell" etc.  Note that as this is
           "real" stdio it will ignore any layers beneath it and go straight to the operating
           system via the C library as usual.

       :perlio
           A from scratch implementation of buffering for PerlIO. Provides fast access to the
           buffer for "sv_gets" which implements perl's readline/<> and in general attempts to
           minimize data copying.

           ":perlio" will insert a ":unix" layer below itself to do low level IO.

       :crlf
           A layer that implements DOS/Windows like CRLF line endings.  On read converts pairs of
           CR,LF to a single "\n" newline character.  On write converts each "\n" to a CR,LF
           pair.  Note that this layer will silently refuse to be pushed on top of itself.

           It currently does not mimic MS-DOS as far as treating of Control-Z as being an end-of-
           file marker.

           Based on the ":perlio" layer.

       :utf8
           Declares that the stream accepts perl's internal encoding of characters.  (Which
           really is UTF-8 on ASCII machines, but is UTF-EBCDIC on EBCDIC machines.)  This allows
           any character perl can represent to be read from or written to the stream. The UTF-X
           encoding is chosen to render simple text parts (i.e.  non-accented letters, digits and
           common punctuation) human readable in the encoded file.

           (CAUTION: This layer does not validate byte sequences.  For reading input, you should
           instead use ":encoding(UTF-8)" instead of bare ":utf8".)

           Here is how to write your native data out using UTF-8 (or UTF-EBCDIC) and then read it
           back in.

                   open(F, ">:utf8", "data.utf");
                   print F $out;
                   close(F);

                   open(F, "<:utf8", "data.utf");
                   $in = <F>;
                   close(F);

       :bytes
           This is the inverse of the ":utf8" layer. It turns off the flag on the layer below so
           that data read from it is considered to be "octets" i.e. characters in the range
           0..255 only. Likewise on output perl will warn if a "wide" character is written to a
           such a stream.

       :raw
           The ":raw" layer is defined as being identical to calling "binmode($fh)" - the stream
           is made suitable for passing binary data, i.e. each byte is passed as-is. The stream
           will still be buffered.

           In Perl 5.6 and some books the ":raw" layer (previously sometimes also referred to as
           a "discipline") is documented as the inverse of the ":crlf" layer. That is no longer
           the case - other layers which would alter the binary nature of the stream are also
           disabled.  If you want UNIX line endings on a platform that normally does CRLF
           translation, but still want UTF-8 or encoding defaults, the appropriate thing to do is
           to add ":perlio" to the PERLIO environment variable.

           The implementation of ":raw" is as a pseudo-layer which when "pushed" pops itself and
           then any layers which do not declare themselves as suitable for binary data. (Undoing
           :utf8 and :crlf are implemented by clearing flags rather than popping layers but that
           is an implementation detail.)

           As a consequence of the fact that ":raw" normally pops layers, it usually only makes
           sense to have it as the only or first element in a layer specification.  When used as
           the first element it provides a known base on which to build e.g.

               open($fh,":raw:utf8",...)

           will construct a "binary" stream, but then enable UTF-8 translation.

       :pop
           A pseudo layer that removes the top-most layer. Gives perl code a way to manipulate
           the layer stack.  Note that ":pop" only works on real layers and will not undo the
           effects of pseudo layers like ":utf8".  An example of a possible use might be:

               open($fh,...)
               ...
               binmode($fh,":encoding(...)");  # next chunk is encoded
               ...
               binmode($fh,":pop");            # back to un-encoded

           A more elegant (and safer) interface is needed.

       :win32
           On Win32 platforms this experimental layer uses the native "handle" IO rather than the
           unix-like numeric file descriptor layer. Known to be buggy as of perl 5.8.2.

   Custom Layers
       It is possible to write custom layers in addition to the above builtin ones, both in C/XS
       and Perl.  Two such layers (and one example written in Perl using the latter) come with
       the Perl distribution.

       :encoding
           Use ":encoding(ENCODING)" either in open() or binmode() to install a layer that
           transparently does character set and encoding transformations, for example from Shift-
           JIS to Unicode.  Note that under "stdio" an ":encoding" also enables ":utf8".  See
           PerlIO::encoding for more information.

       :mmap
           A layer which implements "reading" of files by using "mmap()" to make a (whole) file
           appear in the process's address space, and then using that as PerlIO's "buffer". This
           may be faster in certain circumstances for large files, and may result in less
           physical memory use when multiple processes are reading the same file.

           Files which are not "mmap()"-able revert to behaving like the ":perlio" layer. Writes
           also behave like the ":perlio" layer, as "mmap()" for write needs extra house-keeping
           (to extend the file) which negates any advantage.

           The ":mmap" layer will not exist if the platform does not support "mmap()".

       :via
           Use ":via(MODULE)" either in open() or binmode() to install a layer that does whatever
           transformation (for example compression / decompression, encryption / decryption) to
           the filehandle.  See PerlIO::via for more information.

   Alternatives to raw
       To get a binary stream an alternate method is to use:

           open($fh,"whatever")
           binmode($fh);

       this has the advantage of being backward compatible with how such things have had to be
       coded on some platforms for years.

       To get an unbuffered stream specify an unbuffered layer (e.g. ":unix") in the open call:

           open($fh,"<:unix",$path)

   Defaults and how to override them
       If the platform is MS-DOS like and normally does CRLF to "\n" translation for text files
       then the default layers are :

         unix crlf

       (The low level "unix" layer may be replaced by a platform specific low level layer.)

       Otherwise if "Configure" found out how to do "fast" IO using the system's stdio, then the
       default layers are:

         unix stdio

       Otherwise the default layers are

         unix perlio

       These defaults may change once perlio has been better tested and tuned.

       The default can be overridden by setting the environment variable PERLIO to a space
       separated list of layers ("unix" or platform low level layer is always pushed first).

       This can be used to see the effect of/bugs in the various layers e.g.

         cd .../perl/t
         PERLIO=stdio  ./perl harness
         PERLIO=perlio ./perl harness

       For the various values of PERLIO see "PERLIO" in perlrun.

   Querying the layers of filehandles
       The following returns the names of the PerlIO layers on a filehandle.

          my @layers = PerlIO::get_layers($fh); # Or FH, *FH, "FH".

       The layers are returned in the order an open() or binmode() call would use them.  Note
       that the "default stack" depends on the operating system and on the Perl version, and both
       the compile-time and runtime configurations of Perl.

       The following table summarizes the default layers on UNIX-like and DOS-like platforms and
       depending on the setting of $ENV{PERLIO}:

        PERLIO     UNIX-like                   DOS-like
        ------     ---------                   --------
        unset / "" unix perlio / stdio [1]     unix crlf
        stdio      unix perlio / stdio [1]     stdio
        perlio     unix perlio                 unix perlio

        # [1] "stdio" if Configure found out how to do "fast stdio" (depends
        # on the stdio implementation) and in Perl 5.8, otherwise "unix perlio"

       By default the layers from the input side of the filehandle are returned; to get the
       output side, use the optional "output" argument:

          my @layers = PerlIO::get_layers($fh, output => 1);

       (Usually the layers are identical on either side of a filehandle but for example with
       sockets there may be differences, or if you have been using the "open" pragma.)

       There is no set_layers(), nor does get_layers() return a tied array mirroring the stack,
       or anything fancy like that.  This is not accidental or unintentional.  The PerlIO layer
       stack is a bit more complicated than just a stack (see for example the behaviour of
       ":raw").  You are supposed to use open() and binmode() to manipulate the stack.

       Implementation details follow, please close your eyes.

       The arguments to layers are by default returned in parentheses after the name of the
       layer, and certain layers (like "utf8") are not real layers but instead flags on real
       layers; to get all of these returned separately, use the optional "details" argument:

          my @layer_and_args_and_flags = PerlIO::get_layers($fh, details => 1);

       The result will be up to be three times the number of layers: the first element will be a
       name, the second element the arguments (unspecified arguments will be "undef"), the third
       element the flags, the fourth element a name again, and so forth.

       You may open your eyes now.

AUTHOR

       Nick Ing-Simmons <nick@ing-simmons.net>

SEE ALSO

       "binmode" in perlfunc, "open" in perlfunc, perlunicode, perliol, Encode