NAME
Scalar::Number  numeric aspects of scalars
SYNOPSIS
use Scalar::Number qw(scalar_num_part);
$num = scalar_num_part($scalar);
use Scalar::Number qw(sclnum_is_natint sclnum_is_float);
if(sclnum_is_natint($value)) { ...
if(sclnum_is_float($value)) { ...
use Scalar::Number qw(sclnum_val_cmp sclnum_id_cmp);
@sorted_nums = sort { sclnum_val_cmp($a, $b) } @floats;
@sorted_nums = sort { sclnum_id_cmp($a, $b) } @floats;
DESCRIPTION
This module is about the numeric part of plain (string) Perl scalars. A scalar has a numeric value, which may be expressed in either the native integer type or the native floating point type. Many values are expressible both ways, in which case the exact representation is insignificant. To fully understand Perl arithmetic it is necessary to know about both of these representations, and the differing behaviours of numbers according to which way they are expressible.
This module provides functions to extract the numeric part of a scalar, classify a number by expressibility, and compare numbers across representations.
FUNCTIONS
Decomposition
 scalar_num_part(SCALAR)

Extracts the numeric value of SCALAR, and returns it as a pure numeric scalar.
Every scalar has both a string value and a numeric value. In pure string scalars, those resulting from string literals or string operations, the numeric value is determined from the string value. In pure numeric scalars, those resulting from numeric literals or numeric operations, the string value is determined from the numeric value. In the general case, however, a plain scalar's string and numeric values may be set independently, which is known as a dualvar. Nonplain scalars, principally references, determine their string and numeric values in other ways, and in particular a reference to a blessed object can stringify and numerify however the class wishes.
This function does not warn if given an ostensibly nonnumeric argument, because the whole point of it is to extract the numeric value of scalars that are not pure numeric.
Classification
 sclnum_is_natint(VALUE)

Returns a boolean indicating whether the provided VALUE can be represented in the native integer data type. If the floating point type includes signed zeroes then they do not qualify; the only zero representable in the integer type is unsigned.
Only the numeric value of the scalar VALUE is examined. The string value is ignored.
 sclnum_is_float(VALUE)

Returns a boolean indicating whether the provided VALUE can be represented in the native floating point data type. If the floating point type includes signed zeroes then an unsigned zero (from the native integer type) does not qualify.
Only the numeric value of the scalar VALUE is examined. The string value is ignored.
Comparison
 sclnum_val_cmp(A, B)

Numerically compares the values A and B. Integer and floating point values are compared correctly with each other, even if there is no available format in which both values can be accurately represented. Returns 1, 0, +1, or undef, indicating whether A is less than, equal to, greater than, or not comparable with B. The "not comparable" situation arises if either value is a floating point NaN (notanumber). All flavours of zero compare equal.
This is very similar to Perl's builtin <=> operator. The only difference is the capability to compare integer against floating point (where neither can be represented exactly in the other's format). <=> performs such comparisons in floating point, losing accuracy of the integer value.
Only the numeric values of the scalars A and B are examined. The string values are ignored.
 sclnum_id_cmp(A, B)

This is a comparison function supplying a total ordering of scalar numeric values. Returns 1, 0, or +1, indicating whether A is to be sorted before, the same as, or after B.
The ordering is of the identities of numeric values, not their numerical values. If floating point zeroes are signed, then the three types (positive, negative, and unsigned) are considered to be distinct. NaNs compare equal to each other, but different from all numeric values. The exact ordering provided is mostly numerical order: NaNs come first, followed by negative infinity, then negative finite values, then negative zero, then unsigned zero, then positive zero, then positive finite values, then positive infinity.
In addition to sorting, this function can be useful to check for a zero of a particular sign.
Only the numeric values of the scalars A and B are examined. The string values are ignored.
SEE ALSO
Data::Float, Data::Integer, perlnumber(1)
AUTHOR
Andrew Main (Zefram) <zefram@fysh.org>
COPYRIGHT
Copyright (C) 2007 Andrew Main (Zefram) <zefram@fysh.org>
This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.