Alt::IO::All::new - Alternate IO::All - The Rewrite

alt-io-all-new-pm alt-io-all-new-pm


    > cpanm Alt::IO::All::new

    use IO::All;


This is a rewrite of the infamous IO::All. The new design is detailed below.


This is a very early release. It's just barely operational. Enough to upload to CPAN under the new experimental Alt- namespace.


This is a design document for an upcoming version of IO::All.

IO::All is a Perl module that attempts to make all Input/Output operations in Perl, as simple and normal as possible. IO::All has been in existence since 2005. It is useful and somewhat extensible, but has a number of inconsistencies, flaws and misgivings.

This document will propose a better way to do it, and will also discuss how to move the current API forward to the new API.


  • IO::All provides a single entry point function called io.

  • use IO::All should make this function available in a lexical scope.

    • Currently this scope is 'package' scope.

    • Would be nice, but maybe not possible to have true lexical scope.

  • The io function is custom to its scope

    • The behavior it provides depends on the state of the scope

    • The behavior it provides also depends on the arguments passed to use IO::All

  • io returns an IO::All object

    • The IO::All object has no I/O capabilities

    • Further method calls invoke a context, causing the IO::All object to rebless itself it something useful like IO::All::File.

  • Certain methods force a rebless

    • `file(...), dir(...), socket(...), etc

    • These methods are more or less hard-coded currently

  • Options to use IO::All that begin with a -, cause a method to be called on each new IO::All object.

    • use IO::All -strict, -encoding => 'big5'; # causes:

    • io('foo')->print('hi'); # to mean:

    • io('foo')->strict->encoding('big5')->print('hi');

  • IO::All operations generally return other IO::All objects

    • Often they return themselves ($self) for chaining

  • IO::All needs to be completely and consistently extensible

    • The extensions that ship with IO-All should be the same as third party extensions

    • Plugins register capabilities with IO::All (tied to a scope)

  • IO::All operations can be strict or loose. Strict always throws errors on any possible error condition. Strict or loose should be determined by the presence of use strict in the scope (possibly).

  • IO::All currently uses a big set of overloaded operations by default. This is loved by some and hated by others. It should probably be off by default for 2.0.


Currently the extension API is fairly muddy. I would like the new API to require something like this:

        use strict;
        use IO::All -overload;
        use IO::All::PrintingPress;

        my $io = io('path:to:printing:press#1');
        # is ref($io), 'IO::All';
        $io->print('IO::All');        # calls IO::All::PrintingPress::print
        # is ref($io), 'IO::All::PrintingPress';

So you need to load any extensions that you want to use, within the scope that you want them in. Exceptions are IO::All::File and IO::All::Dir, which are automatically loaded, unless you say:

    use IO::All -none;

Plugins can register 3 things:

  • Register a method (or methods) that will force a rebless in that class.

  • Register a regexp (or function) that will cause a rebless when the input to io(...) matches.

  • Register overloads that the plugin responds to.

These things are register according to the scope of the IO::All, so that the io function will do the right things.

Transition to the new API

It needs to be determined if the changes that need to be made are too destructive to coexist with the current IO::All. That determination obviously cannot be made until the new design is complete.

If it is not too destructive, IO::All and its extensions can be brought forward.

If it is too destructive, here is one proposed solution:

Support IO::All 2 <options>;

The version '2' will load IO::All2 (or something) and no version will load the old code.

It is important to assure that the old and new interfaces can coexist in the same process space.

In the IO::All2 scenario, we would need to figure out if the current IO::All extensions also needed forwarding.



Ingy döt Net <>


Copyright 2012-2014. Ingy döt Net.

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