NAME
    Text::TabularDisplay - Display text in formatted table output

SYNOPSIS
        use Text::TabularDisplay;

        my $table = Text::TabularDisplay->new(@columns);
        $table->add(@row)
            while (@row = $sth->fetchrow);
        print $table->render;

        +----+-----------+
        | id | name      |
        +----+-----------+
        | 1  | Tom       |
        | 2  | Dick      |
        | 3  | Harry     |
        +----+-----------+

DESCRIPTION
    Text::TabularDisplay simplifies displaying textual data in a table. The
    output is identical to the columnar display of query results in the
    mysql text monitor. For example, this data:

        1, "Tom Jones", "(666) 555-1212"
        2, "Barnaby Jones", "(666) 555-1213"
        3, "Bridget Jones", "(666) 555-1214"

    Used like so:

        my $t = Text::TabularDisplay->new(qw(id name phone));
        $t->add(1, "Tom Jones", "(666) 555-1212");
        $t->add(2, "Barnaby Jones", "(666) 555-1213");
        $t->add(3, "Bridget Jones", "(666) 555-1214");
        print $t->render;

    Produces:

        +----+---------------+----------------+
        | id | name          | phone          |
        +----+---------------+----------------+
        | 1  | Tom Jones     | (666) 555-1212 |
        | 2  | Barnaby Jones | (666) 555-1213 |
        | 3  | Bridget Jones | (666) 555-1214 |
        +----+---------------+----------------+

METHODS
    Text::TabularDisplay has four primary methods: new(), columns(), add(),
    and render(). new() creates a new Text::TabularDisplay instance;
    columns() sets the column headers in the output table; add() adds data
    to the instance; and render() returns a formatted string representation
    of the instance.

    There are also a few auxilliary convenience methods: clone(), items(),
    reset(), populate(), and paginate().

    new A Text::TabularDisplay instance can be created with column names
        passed as constructor args, so these two calls produce similar
        objects:

            my $t1 = Text::TabularDisplay->new;
            $t1->columns(qw< one two >);

            my $t2 = Text::TabularDisplay->new(qw< one two >);

        Calling new() on a Text::TabularDisplay instance returns a clone of
        the object. See the clone entry in the Text::TabularDisplay manpage.

    columns
        Gets or sets the column names for an instance. This method is called
        automatically by the constructor with any parameters that are passed
        to the constructor (if any are passed).

        When called in scalar context, columns() returns the *number of
        columns in the instance*, rather than the columns themselves. In
        list context, copies of the columns names are returned; the names of
        the columns cannot be modified this way.

    add Takes a list of items and appends it to the list of items to be
        displayed. add() can also take a reference to an array, so that
        large arrays don't need to be copied.

        As elements are processed, add() maintains the width of each column
        so that the resulting table has the correct dimensions.

        add() returns $self, so that calls to add() can be chained:

            $t->add(@one)->add(@two)->add(@three);

    render
        render() does most of the actual work. It returns a string
        containing the data added via add(), formatted as a table, with a
        header containing the column names.

        render() does not change the state of the object; it can be called
        multiple times, with identical output (including identical running
        time: the output of render is not cached).

        If there are no columns defined, then the output table does not
        contains a row of column names. Compare these two sequences:

            my $t = Text::TabularDisplay->new;
            $t->add(qw< 1 2 3 4 >);
            $t->add(qw< 5 6 7 8 >);
            print $t->render;

            $t->columns(qw< one two three four >);
            print $t->render;

            # Example 1 output
            +---+---+---+---+
            | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
            | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
            +---+---+---+---+

            # Example 2 output
            +-----+-----+-------+------+
            | one | two | three | four |
            +-----+-----+-------+------+
            | 1   | 2   | 3     | 4    |
            | 5   | 6   | 7     | 8    |
            +-----+-----+-------+------+

        render() takes optional $start and $end arguments; these indicate
        the start and end *indexes* for the data to be rendered. This can be
        used for paging and the like:

            $t->add(1, 2, 3)->add(4, 5, 6)->add(7, 8, 9)->add(10, 11, 12);
            print $t->render(0, 1), "\n";
            print $t->render(2, 3), "\n";

        Produces:

            +-------+--------+-------+
            | First | Second | Third |
            +-------+--------+-------+
            | 1     | 2      | 3     |
            | 4     | 5      | 6     |
            +-------+--------+-------+

            +-------+--------+-------+
            | First | Second | Third |
            +-------+--------+-------+
            | 7     | 8      | 9     |
            | 10    | 11     | 12    |
            +-------+--------+-------+

        As an aside, note the chaining of calls to add().

        The elements in the table are padded such that there is the same
        number of items in each row, including the header. Thus:

            $t->columns(qw< One Two >);
            print $t->render;

            +-----+-----+----+
            | One | Two |    |
            +-----+-----+----+
            | 1   | 2   | 3  |
            | 4   | 5   | 6  |
            | 7   | 8   | 9  |
            | 10  | 11  | 12 |
            +-----+-----+----+

        And:

            $t->columns(qw< One Two Three Four>);
            print $t->render;

            +-----+-----+-------+------+
            | One | Two | Three | Four |
            +-----+-----+-------+------+
            | 1   | 2   | 3     |      |
            | 4   | 5   | 6     |      |
            | 7   | 8   | 9     |      |
            | 10  | 11  | 12    |      |
            +-----+-----+-------+------+

OTHER METHODS
    clone()
        The clone() method returns an identical copy of a
        Text::TabularDisplay instance, completely separate from the cloned
        instance.

    items()
        The items() method returns the number of elements currently stored
        in the data structure:

            printf "There are %d elements in \$t.\n", $t->items;

    reset()
        Reset deletes the data from the instance, including columns. If
        passed arguments, it passes them to columns(), just like new().

    populate()
        populate() as a special case of add(); populate() expects a
        reference to an array of references to arrays, such as returned by
        DBI's selectall_arrayref method:

            $sql = "SELECT " . join(", ", @c) . " FROM mytable";
            $t->columns(@c);
            $t->populate($dbh->selectall_arrayref($sql));

        This is for convenience only; the implementation maps this to
        multiple calls to add().

NOTES / ISSUES
    Text::TabularDisplay assumes it is handling strings, and does stringy
    things with the data, like legnth() and sprintf(). Non-character data
    can be passed in, of course, but will be treated as strings; this may
    have ramifications for objects that implement overloading.

    Newlines contained within the data ruin formatting. This is consistent
    with the software that this module is emulating (the mysql command line
    client), but only because this was easier to implement.

    Currently, this:

        my $t = Text::TabularDisplay->new("id", "text");
        $t->add(1, "This is my text.\nThere are many like it, but this one is mine.");
        print $t->render;

    renders as this:

        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+
        | id | text
        |
        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+
        | 1  | This is my text.
        There are many like it, but this one is mine. |
        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+

    I would like it to render like so:

        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+
        | id | text                                                           |
        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+
        | 1  | This is my text.                                               |
        |    | There are many like it, but this one is mine.                  |
        +----+----------------------------------------------------------------+

    Patches welcome, of course. ;)

    The biggest issue, though, is that this module duplicates a some of the
    functionality of Data::ShowTable. Of course, Data::ShowTable is a large,
    complex monolithic tool that does a lot of things, while
    Text::TabularDisplay is small and fast.

VERSION
    $Id: README,v 1.6 2002/10/28 20:14:54 dlc Exp $

AUTHOR
    darren chamberlain <darren@cpan.org>