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Perl: the Markov chain saw

Re: Please help me with the output

by quester (Vicar)
on Jan 14, 2012 at 06:39 UTC ( #947864=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Please help me with the output

When run as-is, it says

$ perl Global symbol "$letter" requires explicit package name at li +ne 5. Global symbol "$letter" requires explicit package name at li +ne 8. Global symbol "$letter" requires explicit package name at li +ne 10. Execution of aborted due to compilation errors (#1) (F) You've said "use strict" or "use strict vars", which indicates that all variables must either be lexically scoped (using "my" or +"state"), declared beforehand using "our", or explicitly qualified to say which package the global variable is in (using "::"). BEGIN not safe after errors--compilation aborted at /usr/lib/perl5/5.1 +0/Carp/ line 11. Compilation failed in require at /usr/lib/perl5/5.10/ line 33.

The errors relating to $letter and the diagnostic can be fixed with a "my $letter;" (our and state are more specialized, my is the most common way of declaring variables.) Generally it is best to fix the first few obvious errors before worrying about less-obvious ones. That's because Perl, like most compilers, can get confused enough by errors early in the program that it can't handle otherwise-valid code later in the program. So, fixing just the declaration of $letter,

use strict; use warnings; use diagnostics; my $letter = 'b'; addtwo(); addtwo(); print $letter; sub addtwo { $letter +=2; }


Argument "b" isn't numeric in addition (+) at line 10 (#1) (W numeric) The indicated string was fed as an argument to an oper +ator that expected a numeric value instead. If you're fortunate the me +ssage will identify which operator was so unfortunate. 4

Now, what is two more than "b"? Well... it depends. The interpretation that Perl took is to convert "b" to zero. It might be that the "b" should have been a number, but my *guess* is that addtwo was meant to increment the letter twice, to get "d" after the first call and "f" after the second. There is a way of doing that: "$letter++" will produce the next letter, because of some magic that applies only to the autoincrement "++" operator. That magic doesn't apply to assignment operators such as "+=". The details are in perlop.

Fixing that, and fixing the spacing to make the function stand out better (the perltidy command from the Perl::Tidy module in CPAN can do it automatically, although it's overkill for these few lines) we get

use strict; use warnings; use diagnostics; my $letter = 'b'; addtwo(); addtwo(); print $letter; sub addtwo { $letter++; $letter++; }
which prints

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