Inspiration whacked me in the head yesterday, and I realized that it was pretty easy to take an arbitrary hash reference and turn it into an object, so that instead of writing $hash->{key} I can just write $hash->key, saving two characters and giving me protection from typos. Enter Util::H2O:

use Util::H2O; my $hash = h2o { foo => "bar", x => "y" }, qw/ more keys /; print $hash->foo, "\n"; # prints "bar" $hash->x("z"); # setter

Deeply nested structures can be converted too...

my $struct = { hello => { perl => { world => "yay" } } }; h2o -recurse, $struct; print $struct->hello->perl->world, "\n"; # prints "yay"

The function blesses its hashref argument into a new package, and returns that hashref as well. The hashrefs otherwise remain the same as before, so you can still use $hash->{key} and so on if you like. The newly created package is cleaned up by default when the object is destroyed (configurable). These objects are of course a bit less performant than a regular hashref, but this wasn't intended for high-performance applications.

Update: As of the freshly-released v0.06, the h2o function also locks the hash's keyset by default, to prevent typos when using the hash like a regular hashref. This can be disabled with the -lock=>0 option. /Update

I quickly realized I could do more with this, like add methods to these objects:

my $obj = h2o -meth, { one => 123, two => 456, sum => sub { my $self = shift; return $self->one + $self->two; } }; print $obj->sum, "\n"; # prints "579"

And I could even make it easy to create classes; the -new option generates a constructor:

h2o -class=>'Point', -new, -meth, { angle => sub { my $self = shift; atan2($self->y, $self->x) }, }, qw/ x y /; my $one = Point->new(x=>1, y=>2); my $two = Point->new(x=>3, y=>4); $two->y(5); printf "%.4f\n", $two->angle; # prints 1.0304

Yes, I realize that might be taking it a little bit too far, but it was easy to implement - plus, I figured this could possibly be useful for whipping up mock objects in tests. And yes, I'm aware similar tools exist ;-)