Carp::Ensure - Ensure a value is of the expected type

      use Carp::Ensure( qw( is_a ) );

      ensure('string', "Some arbitrary string") if DEBUG;
      ensure('@integer', 1, 2, 3) if DEBUG;
      ensure('@\integer', \1, \2, \3) if DEBUG;

      my %word2Int = ( one => 1, two => 2, three => 3 );
      my @ints = values(%word2Int);
      my @wordsInts = ( keys(%word2Int), @ints );

      ensure('\@integer', \@ints) if DEBUG;

      ensure('@word|integer', %word2Int) if DEBUG;
      ensure('%word=>integer', %word2Int) if DEBUG;

      die("Unexpected type")
          unless is_a('@word|integer', @wordsInts);
      die("Unexpected type")
          unless is_a('@\@word|integer', \@wordsInts, [ "four", 4 ]);

      # Receives a string, a `Mail::Internet' object, a reference to a hash mapping
      # strings to integers
      sub someSub($$%) {
        ensure([ qw( string Mail::Internet HASH %string=>integer ) ], \@_) if DEBUG;
        my( $string, $object, %hash ) = @_;

        # ...

    Most of the time it's a nice feature, that Perl has no really
    strict type checking as in C++. However, sometimes you want to
    ensure, that you subs actually get the type of arguments they
    expect. Or they return what you expect.

    That is where Carp::Ensure may be useful. You can check every
    value whether it has the type you expect. You may fine tune the
    type checking from very coarse checking like defined vs.
    undefined to very detailed checks which check even the keys and
    values of a hash. In most places you may give alternative types
    so for instance a parameter can easily be checked to be of a
    certain type or undefined.

    There are checking routines for a few commonly used base types
    included and you may add your own checking routines so you can
    check for the types specific to your program.

    The types are described by a simple grammar which picks up as
    much as possible you already know from the Perl type system.

          use Carp::Ensure;

          ensure("some_type", $value) if DEBUG;
          ensure("@value_type", @array) if DEBUG;
          ensure("%key_type=>value_type", %hash) if DEBUG;

          ensure([ qw( type1 type2 ... ) ], [ $value1, $value2, ... ]) if DEBUG;
          ensure([ qw( type1 type2 ... ) ], \@_) if DEBUG;

        Checks whether the types described in the first argument are
        matched by the values given in the following arguments. If
        the values match the type ensure returns an aribtrary value.
        If a value doesn't match the specified type, ensure
        Carp::confesses with an approriate error message and thus
        stops the program.

        If the first argument is a string, it describes the type of
        the remaining arguments which may be arbitrary many
        (including none). This is useful for list types (i.e. arrays
        and hashes) and to check single values.

        If the first argument is a reference to an array, the second
        argument must be a reference to an array, too. In this
        calling scheme the first array describes the types contained
        in the second argument. It is particularly useful to check
        the argument list of a sub.

        Care is taken to not change the second argument in any way.

        Note, that usually ot only makes sense when the last of the
        described types checks for a list type. This is because in
        Perl a list type sucks up all the remaining values.

        See the section on "TYPE GRAMMAR" for how the types are

        The `if DEBUG' concept is taken from the Carp::Assert
        manpage where it is explained in detail (particularly in the
        section on "Debugging vs Production" in the Carp::Assert
        manpage. Actually the DEBUG value is probably shared between
        the Carp::Assert manpage and this module. So take care when
        enabling it in one and disabling it in the other package
        `use'. In short: If you say `use Carp::Ensure' you switch
        DEBUG on and ensure works as expected. If you say `no
        Carp::Ensure' then the whole call is compiled away from the
        program and has no impact on efficiency.

          # Both are possible
          use Carp::Ensure( qw( :DEBUG is_a ) );
          use Carp::Ensure( qw( :NDEBUG is_a ) );

          $is_of_type = is_a("some_type", $value);
          $is_of_type = is_a("@value_type", @array);
          $is_of_type = is_a("%key_type=>value_type", %hash);

          $is_of_type = is_a([ qw( type1 type2 ... ) ], [ $value1, $value2, ... ]);
          $is_of_type = is_a([ qw( type1 type2 ... ) ], \@_);

        This does the same as ensure, however, it only returns true
        or false instead of Carp::confessing. You can use this to
        check types of values without immediately stopping the
        program on failure or to build your own testing subs like

                sub Carp::Ensure::is_a_word1empty { Carp::Ensure::is_a('word|empty', ${shift()}) }

        If a false value is returned *$@* is set to an error
        message. Otherwise *$@* is undefined.

    You may create rather complex type descriptions from the
    following grammar.

  Lexical rules

    Since whitespace is not relevant in the grammar, it may occur
    anywhere outside of identifiers. Actually any whitespace is
    removed before parsing the type description starts.

  Grammar rules

    *type* :=
        *hash* | *array* | *alternative*

    *hash* :=
        '`%'' *alternative* '`='>' *alternative*

    *array* :=
        '`@'' *alternative*

    *alternative* :=
        *simple* '`|'' *alternative* | *simple*

    *simple* :=
        *reference* | *dynamic* | *special* | *scalar*

    *reference* :=
        '`\'' *type* | *class* | *object* | '`HASH'' | '`ARRAY'' |
        '`CODE'' | '`GLOB''

        Note: Take care with the `\'. Even in a string using single
        quotes a directly following backslash quotes a backslash!
        Whitespace between subsequent backslashes simplifies things

    *dynamic* :=

    *special* :=
        '`undefined'' | '`defined'' | '`anything''

    *scalar* :=
        '`string'' | '`word'' | '`empty'' | '`integer'' | '`float''
        | '`boolean'' | '`regex''

        These common simple types are predefined.

    *class* :=
        '`^'' *object*

        A value matching such a type is a name of a class (i.e. a
        string) represented by the name matching the regular
        expression *object*. This may mean, that the class is a
        superclass of the class given by the value.

        Thus the first parameter of a method which might be used
        static as well as with an object has a type of


    *object* :=

        The value is a object (i.e. a blessed reference) of the
        class represented by the name matching the regular
        expression. This may mean, that the class is a superclass of
        the object's class.

    *user* :=

        This might be a string *userType* matching the regular
        expression. For this a sub


        must be defined. When checking a value for being a
        *userType*, the sub is called with a single argument being a
        reference(!) to the value it should check. This minimizes
        copying. The sub must return false if the referenced value
        is not of the desired type and a true value otherwise. See
        `is_a' for an example.

  Terminal symbols

    The terminal symbols have the following meaning:

        The value is a reference(!) to a hash with arbitrary keys
        and values. Use this if you don't want to check the hash

        The value is a reference(!) to an array with arbitrary
        content. Use this if you don't want to check the array

        The value is a reference to some code. This may be an
        anonymous or a named sub.

        The value is a GLOB.

        Only the undefined value is permitted. Often used as one
        part of an alternative. Missing optional arguments of a sub
        are undefined, also.

        The value only needs to be defined.

        Actually not a test since anything is permitted.

        An arbitrary string.

        A string matching `/w+/'.

        An empty string.

        An integer.

        An floating point number.

        A boolean. Actually every scalar is a boolean in Perl, so
        this is more a description of how a certain value is used.

        A string which compiles cleanly as a regular expression. The
        `regex' is applied to an empty string so any parentheses in
        the `regex' will probably don't result in anything useful.

        Note, that nothing prevents the `regex' from executing
        arbitrary code if you manage to include this somehow. The
        results are completly undefined.


    The precedence of the operators is as indicated by the grammar.
    Because most operators are prefix operators there is not much
    room for ambiguity anyway. However, the grammar for alternatives
    opens some traps. In particular the current grammar means, that
    it is not possible to have

    * references to alternatives
        A type description `\type1|type2' would be parsed as an
        alternative between `\type1' and `type2' instead of a
        reference to either `type1' or `type2'. Use `\type1|\type2'

    * alternatives between array types
        A type description `@type1|@type2' is indeed not allowed by
        the grammar. Probably you're thinking of `@type1|type2'
        anyway which describes an array consisting of `type1' and/or
        `type2' values.

        If you want to describe arrays consisting of exactly one or
        another type use an additional reference for your value and
        try `\@type1|\@type2'.

    * lists as hash value types
        Similarly `%typeK='>`@typeV1|typeV2' is not allowed by the
        grammar. It would not make sense anyway because a list can
        not be the value of a hash key.

        However, `%typeK='>`\@typeV1|\@typeV2' is possible and
        describes a hash mapping `typeK' values to references to
        arrays consisting of either `typeV1' or `typeV2' elements.

    * references to list types with alternatives
        A type description `\@type1|type2' describes a reference to
        an array of `type1' elements or a `type2' value. It is NOT a
        reference to an array consisting of `type1' and/or `type2'

        Even worse `\%typeK1|typeK2='>`typeV' can't be parsed at all
        because the alternative is evaluated before the hash

    Note, that you can always define your own test functions which
    may break down complex types to simple names. With the `is_a'
    function this is usually done with a few key strokes.

    *   As noted above the lack of parentheses in the grammar makes some
        complex constructions impossible. However, introducing
        parentheses would make a more complex parser necessary.
        After all user defined types may be used for simulating

        If parentheses, brackets and braces would be added to the
        grammar, the following changed productions would be probably

    *simple* :=
            '`('' *alternative* '`)' | *reference* | ...

    *reference* :=
            '`\'' *simple* | '`['' *alternative* '`]'' | '`{''
            *alternative* '`='>' *alternative* '`}'' | *class* | ...

    *   Furthermore it would be nice to have

    *dynamic* :=
            *user* | '`/'' *match* '`/'' | *number* '`..'' *number*

    *match* :=
            *a valid Perl regex*

    *number* :=

        so you can define an anonymous type for a string matching a
        regex or for a number being inside a range. But given the
        rich structure of Perl regexes at least the *match* would
        require a real parser.

    There is the the Usage manpage package which has a similar
    functionality. However, it dates 1996 and seems not be
    maintained since then. Unfortunately it is not as flexible as
    this module and is still a bit buggy.

    Stefan Merten <>

    The idea for the code implementing the DEBUG feature was taken
    from the Carp::Assert manpage by Michael G. Schwern

    the Carp manpage

    the Carp::Assert manpage

    This program is licensed under the terms of the GPL. See