This document takes you through a simple patch example.

       If you haven't read perlhack yet, go do that first! You might also want
       to read through perlsource too.

       Once you're done here, check out perlhacktips next.

       Let's take a simple patch from start to finish.

       Here's something Larry suggested: if a "U" is the first active format
       during a "pack", (for example, "pack "U3C8", @stuff") then the
       resulting string should be treated as UTF-8 encoded.

       If you are working with a git clone of the Perl repository, you will
       want to create a branch for your changes. This will make creating a
       proper patch much simpler. See the perlgit for details on how to do

   Writing the patch
       How do we prepare to fix this up? First we locate the code in question
       - the "pack" happens at runtime, so it's going to be in one of the pp
       files. Sure enough, "pp_pack" is in pp.c. Since we're going to be
       altering this file, let's copy it to pp.c~.

       [Well, it was in pp.c when this tutorial was written. It has now been
       split off with "pp_unpack" to its own file, pp_pack.c]

       Now let's look over "pp_pack": we take a pattern into "pat", and then
       loop over the pattern, taking each format character in turn into
       "datum_type". Then for each possible format character, we swallow up
       the other arguments in the pattern (a field width, an asterisk, and so
       on) and convert the next chunk input into the specified format, adding
       it onto the output SV "cat".

       How do we know if the "U" is the first format in the "pat"? Well, if we
       have a pointer to the start of "pat" then, if we see a "U" we can test
       whether we're still at the start of the string. So, here's where "pat"
       is set up:

           STRLEN fromlen;
           register char *pat = SvPVx(*++MARK, fromlen);
           register char *patend = pat + fromlen;
           register I32 len;
           I32 datumtype;
           SV *fromstr;

       We'll have another string pointer in there:

           STRLEN fromlen;
           register char *pat = SvPVx(*++MARK, fromlen);
           register char *patend = pat + fromlen;
           while (pat < patend) {

       Now if we see a "U" which was at the start of the string, we turn on
       the "UTF8" flag for the output SV, "cat":

        +  if (datumtype == 'U' && pat==patcopy+1)
        +      SvUTF8_on(cat);
           if (datumtype == '#') {
               while (pat < patend && *pat != '\n')

       Remember that it has to be "patcopy+1" because the first character of
       the string is the "U" which has been swallowed into "datumtype!"

       Oops, we forgot one thing: what if there are spaces at the start of the
       pattern? "pack("  U*", @stuff)" will have "U" as the first active
       character, even though it's not the first thing in the pattern. In this
       case, we have to advance "patcopy" along with "pat" when we see spaces:

           if (isSPACE(datumtype))

       needs to become

           if (isSPACE(datumtype)) {

       OK. That's the C part done. Now we must do two additional things before
       this patch is ready to go: we've changed the behaviour of Perl, and so
       we must document that change. We must also provide some more regression
       tests to make sure our patch works and doesn't create a bug somewhere
       else along the line.

   Testing the patch
       The regression tests for each operator live in t/op/, and so we make a
       copy of t/op/pack.t to t/op/pack.t~. Now we can add our tests to the
       end. First, we'll test that the "U" does indeed create Unicode strings.

       t/op/pack.t has a sensible ok() function, but if it didn't we could use
       the one from t/

        require './';
        plan( tests => 159 );

       so instead of this:

        print 'not ' unless "1.20.300.4000" eq sprintf "%vd",
        print "ok $test\n"; $test++;

       we can write the more sensible (see Test::More for a full explanation
       of is() and other testing functions).
        isnt( v1.20.300.4000, sprintf "%vd", pack("C0U*",1,20,300,4000),
                                              "U* not first isn't Unicode" );

       Mustn't forget to change the number of tests which appears at the top,
       or else the automated tester will get confused. This will either look
       like this:

        print "1..156\n";

       or this:

        plan( tests => 156 );

       We now compile up Perl, and run it through the test suite. Our new
       tests pass, hooray!

   Documenting the patch
       Finally, the documentation. The job is never done until the paperwork
       is over, so let's describe the change we've just made. The relevant
       place is pod/perlfunc.pod; again, we make a copy, and then we'll insert
       this text in the description of "pack":

        =item *

        If the pattern begins with a C<U>, the resulting string will be treated
        as UTF-8-encoded Unicode. You can force UTF-8 encoding on in a string
        with an initial C<U0>, and the bytes that follow will be interpreted as
        Unicode characters. If you don't want this to happen, you can begin
        your pattern with C<C0> (or anything else) to force Perl not to UTF-8
        encode your string, and then follow this with a C<U*> somewhere in your

       See perlhack for details on how to submit this patch.

       This document was originally written by Nathan Torkington, and is
       maintained by the perl5-porters mailing list.

perl v5.14.2                      2011-09-19                    PERLHACKTUT(1)
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