PerlX::QuoteOperator - Create new quote-like operators in Perl


Version 0.08


Create a quote-like operator which convert text to uppercase:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator quc => {
        -emulate => 'q', 
        -with    => sub ($) { uc $_[0] }, 
    say quc/do i have to $hout/;
    # => DO I HAVE TO $HOUT



Perl comes with some very handy Quote-Like Operators :)

But what it doesn't come with is some easy method to create your own quote-like operators :(

This is where PerlX::QuoteOperator comes in. Using the fiendish Devel::Declare under its hood it "tricks", sorry "helps!" the perl parser to provide new first class quote-like operators.


The subterfuge doesn't go that deep. If we take a look at the SYNOPSIS example:

    say quc/do i have to $hout/;

Then all PerlX::QuoteOperator actually does is convert this to the following before perl compiles it:

    say quc q/do i have to $hout/;

Where 'quc' is a defined sub expecting one argument (ie, sub ($) { uc $_[0] } ).

This approach allows PerlX::QuoteOperator to perform the very basic keyhole surgery on the code, ie. just put in the emulated quote-like operator between keyword & argument.

However this approach does have caveats especially when qw// is being used!. See CAVEATS. There is an alternative parser when can be invoked, see -parser Export parameter.


Bit like climbing Mount Everest... because we can! ;-)

Is really having something like:

    say quc/do i have to $hout/;

so much better than:

    say uc 'do i have to $hout';

or more apt this:

    say uc('do i have to $hout');

Probably not... at least in the example shown. But things like this are certainly eye catching:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator::URL 'qh';
    my $content = qh( );   # does HTTP request

NOTICE - As for version 0.05 (23rd Feb 2015), PerlX::QuoteOperator::URL was moved to its own distribution.

And this:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator qwHash => { 
        -emulate    => 'qw',
        -with       => sub (@) { my $n; map { $_ => ++$n } @_ },

    my %months = qwHash/Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec/;

Certainly give the code aesthetic a good pause for thought.


By default nothing is exported:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator;    # => imports nothing

Quote operator is imported when passed a name and options like so:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator quote_operator_name_i_want_to_use => { }   

A hashref is used to pass the options.



Which Perl quote-like operator required to emulate. q, qq & qw have all been tested.

Default: emulates qq


Your quote-like operator code reference / anon subroutine goes here.

Remember to use subroutine prototype (if not using -parser option):

    -with    => sub ($) { uc $_[0] }, 

This is a mandatory parameter.


If set then alternative parser kicks in. This parser currenly works on single line of code only and must open/close quote with (), {}, [], <> or must have same delimeter for beginning and end of quote:

    -parser => 1

When invoked this parser will take this:

    quc/do i have to $hout/;

And by finding the end of the quote will then encapulate it like so:

    quc(q/do i have to $hout/);

Default: Not using alternative parsing.


If set then prints (warn) the transmogrified line so that you can see what PerlX::QuoteOperator has done!

    -debug => 1

Default: No debug.



Module import sub.


When keyword (defined quote operator) is triggered then this sub uses Devel::Declare to provide necessary keyhole surgery/butchery on the code to make it valid Perl code (think Macro here!).


Internal subroutine used in -parser option.


Performing a method call or dereference using -> like below will not work:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator qurl => { 
        -emulate => 'q', 
        -with    => sub ($) { require URI; URI->new($_[0]) },
    qurl(>authority;   # Throws an error

Because the parsed qurl line becomes this...

    qurl q(>authority;

... so throwing an error trying to call authority on a string. See "HOW DOES IT DO IT" for more info.

A workaround is to use the alternative parser and the line would now be parsed like this:


See -parser option for more information.

Also see examples/ for some more issues with creating qw based quote-like operators. NB. The alternative parser will get around some of these problems but then (potentially) introduces a few new ones! (see TODO)

Recommendation: Stick with Perl parser and all will be fine!


This section shows how you can create a module that defines a custom quote operator, if you have one that you want to re-use.

Let's say you want a qROT13 operator, which will ROT13 a string. First, here's a simple rot13 function. Look at the <wikipedia page on rot13|> if you're not familiar with rot13:

    my $rot13 = sub ($) {
        my $string = shift;
        $string =~ y/A-Za-z/N-ZA-Mn-za-m/;
        return $string;

You don't create your module as a subclass of PerlX::QuoteOperator, but your module creates an instance of it, then calls its import() method, passing an additional final argument, which specifies the name of the package that the operator should be imported into.

Leaving out the rot13 function for ease of reading, here's a module which defines the operator:

    package PerlX::QuoteOperator::Rot13;
    use PerlX::QuoteOperator ();

    sub import {
        my $class     = shift;
        my $name      = @_ > 0 ? shift : 'qROT13';
        my $export_to = caller();
        my $pqo       = PerlX::QuoteOperator->new();

        $pqo->import($name, { -emulate => 'qq', -with => $rot13 }, $export_to);

You can now use your module as follows:

    use PerlX::QuoteOperator::Rot13;
    my $string = qROT13|This is a string|;
    print "string = '$string'\n";



Toby Inkster ( for Text::Balanced patch to the alternative parser at 0.04


Barry Walsh, <draegtun at>


Please report any bugs or feature requests to


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

    perldoc PerlX::QuoteOperator

You can also look for information at:


From here to oblivion!:

And a round of drinks for the mad genius of MST for creating Devel::Declare in the first place!


This is (near) beta software. I'll strive to make it better each and every day!

However I accept no liability whatsoever should this software do what you expected ;-)


Copyright 2009-2015 Barry Walsh (Draegtun Systems Ltd |, all rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either: the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; or the Artistic License.

See for more information.