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File::LoadLines - Load lines from files and network


    use File::LoadLines;
    my @lines = loadlines("mydata.txt");

    use File::LoadLines qw(loadblob);
    my $img = loadblob("");


File::LoadLines provides an easy way to load the contents of a text file into an array of lines. It is intended for small to moderate size files like config files that are often produced by weird tools (and users).

It will transparently fetch data from the network if the provided file name is a URL.

File::LoadLines automatically handles ASCII, Latin-1 and UTF-8 text. When the file has a BOM, it handles UTF-8, UTF-16 LE and BE, and UTF-32 LE and BE.

Recognized line terminators are NL (Unix, Linux), CRLF (DOS, Windows) and CR (Mac)

Function loadblob(), exported on depand, fetches the content and returns it without processing, equivalent to File::Slurp and ilk.


By default the function loadlines() is exported.



    @lines = loadlines("mydata.txt");
    @lines = loadlines("mydata.txt", $options);

The file is opened, read, decoded and split into lines that are returned in the result array. Line terminators are removed.

In scalar context, returns an array reference.

The first argument may be the name of a file, an opened file handle, or a reference to a string that contains the data. The name of a file on disk may start with "file://", this is ignored. If the name starts with "http:" or "https:" the data will be retrieved using LWP. Data URLs like "data:text/plain;base64,SGVsbG8sIFdvcmxkIQ==" are also supported.

The second argument can be used to influence the behaviour. It is a hash reference of option settings.

Note that loadlines() is a slurper, it reads the whole file into memory and, for splitting, requires temporarily memory for twice the size of the file.


Enabled by default.

The data is split into lines and returned as an array (in list context) or as an array reference (in scalar context).

If set to zero, the data is not split into lines but returned as a single string.


Enabled by default.

Line terminators are removed from the resultant lines.

If set to zero, the line terminators are not removed.


If specified, loadlines() will use this encoding to decode the file data if it cannot automatically detect the encoding.

If you pass an options hash, File::LoadLines will set encoding to the encoding it detected and used for this file data.


If specified, the data read is not touched but returned exactly as read.

blob overrules split and chomp.


If specified, it should be either "hard" or "soft".

If "hard", read errors are signalled using croak exceptions. This is the default.

If set to "soft", loadlines() will return an empty result and set the error message in the options hash with key "error".


    use File::LoadLines qw(loadblob);
    $rawdata = loadblob("raw.dat");
    $rawdata = loadblob("raw.dat", $options);

This is equivalent to calling loadlines() with blob=>1 in the options.


There are currently no other modules that handle BOM detection and line splitting.

I have a faint hope that future versions of Perl and Raku will deal with this transparently, but I fear the worst.


When you have raw file data (e.g. from a zip), you can use loadlines() to decode and unpack:

    open( my $data, '<', \$contents );
    $lines = loadlines( $data, $options );

There is no hard requirement on LWP. If you want to use transparent fetching of data over the network please make sure LWP::UserAgent is available.


Johan Vromans, <JV at>


Development of this module takes place on GitHub:

You can find documentation for this module with the perldoc command.

    perldoc File::LoadLines

Please report any bugs or feature requests using the issue tracker on GitHub.


Copyright 2018,2020,2024 Johan Vromans, all rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.