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Class::Singleton - Implementation of a "Singleton" class


    use Class::Singleton;
    my $one = Class::Singleton->instance();   # returns a new instance
    my $two = Class::Singleton->instance();   # returns same instance


This is the Class::Singleton module. A Singleton describes an object class that can have only one instance in any system. An example of a Singleton might be a print spooler or system registry. This module implements a Singleton class from which other classes can be derived. By itself, the Class::Singleton module does very little other than manage the instantiation of a single object. In deriving a class from Class::Singleton, your module will inherit the Singleton instantiation method and can implement whatever specific functionality is required.

For a description and discussion of the Singleton class, see "Design Patterns", Gamma et al, Addison-Wesley, 1995, ISBN 0-201-63361-2.

Using the Class::Singleton Module

To import and use the Class::Singleton module the following line should appear in your Perl program:

    use Class::Singleton;

The instance() method is used to create a new Class::Singleton instance, or return a reference to an existing instance. Using this method, it is only possible to have a single instance of the class in any system.

    my $highlander = Class::Singleton->instance();

Assuming that no Class::Singleton object currently exists, this first call to instance() will create a new Class::Singleton and return a reference to it. Future invocations of instance() will return the same reference.

    my $macleod    = Class::Singleton->instance();

In the above example, both $highlander and $macleod contain the same reference to a Class::Singleton instance. There can be only one.

Deriving Singleton Classes

A module class may be derived from Class::Singleton and will inherit the instance() method that correctly instantiates only one object.

    package PrintSpooler;
    use base 'Class::Singleton';
    # derived class specific code
    sub submit_job {
    sub cancel_job {

The PrintSpooler class defined above could be used as follows:

    use PrintSpooler;
    my $spooler = PrintSpooler->instance();

The instance() method calls the _new_instance() constructor method the first and only time a new instance is created. All parameters passed to the instance() method are forwarded to _new_instance(). In the base class the _new_instance() method returns a blessed reference to a hash array containing any arguments passed as either a hash reference or list of named parameters.

    package MyConfig;
    use base 'Class::Singleton';
    sub foo {
        shift->{ foo };
    sub bar {
        shift->{ bar };
    package main;
    # either: hash reference of named parameters
    my $config = MyConfig->instance({ foo => 10, bar => 20 });
    # or: list of named parameters
    my $config = MyConfig->instance( foo => 10, bar => 20 );
    print $config->foo();   # 10
    print $config->bar();   # 20

Derived classes may redefine the _new_instance() method to provide more specific object initialisation or change the underlying object type (to a list reference, for example).

    package MyApp::Database;
    use base 'Class::Singleton';
    use DBI;
    # this only gets called the first time instance() is called
    sub _new_instance {
        my $class = shift;
        my $self  = bless { }, $class;
        my $db    = shift || "myappdb";    
        my $host  = shift || "localhost";
        $self->{ DB } = DBI->connect("DBI:mSQL:$db:$host")
            || die "Cannot connect to database: $DBI::errstr";
        # any other initialisation...
        return $self;

The above example might be used as follows:

    use MyApp::Database;
    # first use - database gets initialised
    my $database = MyApp::Database->instance();

Some time later on in a module far, far away...

    package MyApp::FooBar
    use MyApp::Database;
    # this FooBar object needs access to the database; the Singleton
    # approach gives a nice wrapper around global variables.
    sub new {
        my $class = shift;
        bless {
            database => MyApp::Database->instance(),
        }, $class;

The Class::Singleton instance() method uses a private hash to store a reference to any existing instance of the object, keyed against the derived class package name.

This allows different classes to be derived from Class::Singleton that can co-exist in the same system, while still allowing only one instance of any one class to exist. For example, it would be possible to derive both 'PrintSpooler' and 'MyApp::Database' from Class::Singleton and have a single instance of each in a system, rather than a single instance of either.

You can use the has_instance() method to find out if a particular class already has an instance defined. A reference to the instance is returned or undef if none is currently defined.

    my $instance = MyApp::Database->has_instance()
        || warn "No instance is defined yet";



This method is called to return a current object instance or create a new one by calling _new_instance().


This method returns a reference to any existing instance or undef if none is defined.

    my $testing = MySingleton1->has_instance()
        || warn "No instance defined for MySingleton1";

This "private" method is called by instance() to create a new object instance if one doesn't already exist. It is not intended to be called directly (although there's nothing to stop you from calling it if you're really determined to do so).

It creates a blessed hash reference containing any arguments passed to the method as either a hash reference or list of named parameters.

    # either: hash reference of named parameters
    my $example1 = MySingleton1->new({ pi => 3.14, e => 2.718 });

    # or: list of named parameters
    my $example2 = MySingleton2->new( pi => 3.14, e => 2.718 );

It is important to remember that the instance() method will only call the _new_instance() method once, so any arguments you pass may be silently ignored if an instance already exists. You can use the has_instance() method to determine if an instance is already defined.






Patches, bug reports, suggestions or any other feedback is welcome.

Patches can be sent as GitHub pull requests at

Bug reports and suggestions can be made on the CPAN Request Tracker at

Currently active requests on the CPAN Request Tracker can be viewed at;Queue=Class-Singleton.

Please test this distribution. See CPAN Testers Reports at for details of how to get involved.

Previous test results on CPAN Testers Reports can be viewed at

Please rate this distribution on CPAN Ratings at


The latest version of this module is available from CPAN (see "CPAN" in perlmodlib for details) at or or

The latest source code is available from GitHub at


See the INSTALL file.


Andy Wardley <>

Thanks to Andreas Koenig for providing some significant speedup patches and other ideas.

Steve Hay <> is now maintaining Class::Singleton as of version 1.5.


Copyright (C) 1998 Canon Research Centre Europe Ltd.

Copyright (C) 1998-2008 Andy Wardley. All rights reserved.

Copyright (C) 2014, 2020 Steve Hay. All rights reserved.


This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself, i.e. under the terms of either the GNU General Public License or the Artistic License, as specified in the LICENCE file.


Version 1.6


02 Dec 2020


See the Changes file.