http://qs321.pair.com?node_id=368942

in reply to A philosophical pondering concerning hexes

I've often felt that base manipulation was one of perl's shortcomings -- not because it can't do it just because it's difficult and, as you point out, the functions work in reverse.

I don't want to see your magic function because we'd then have:

```dec(998)  == 998
dec(999)  == 999
dec(1000) ==   8
dec(1001) ==   9
dec(1002) == 514
which I'm sure you'll agree is just wrong.

I'd prefer that the existing functions did what they appear to do: hex() returns a hexidecimal representation of the input data and oct() returns an octal representation. Similarly a bin() function should return a binary representation.

As changing now would be an absolute backward-compatability nightmare, I'd suggest using the full names for decimal-to-base-n conversion: hexidecimal(255) eq 'FF'.

We might also include generic base manipulator, but it's probably more a loadable (module) function (the functionality below probably already exists in a module, I haven't checked):

```# changebase(\$number, \$from[, \$to]);

print changebase(255, 10, 16);
# FF
print changebase(0xFF, 16, 10);
# 255
print changebase('FF', 16);  # assume change to base 10 when no 'to' i
+s supplied
# 255
print changebase('FF', 16, 2);
# 11111111
An OO module could even be more transparent:
```use Base;
\$hex = new Base 16 => 'FF';
print \$hex;            # Stringify
# FF
print \$hex->binary;    # Return value only (\$hex->binary is an alias f
+or \$hex->base 2)
# 11111111
print \$hex;
# FF
print \$hex->to_binary; # Change value
# 11111111
print \$hex;
# 11111111