Class::ISA -- report the search path for a class's ISA tree

      # Suppose you go: use Food::Fishstick, and that uses and
      # inherits from other things, which in turn use and inherit
      # from other things.  And suppose, for sake of brevity of
      # example, that their ISA tree is the same as:

      @Food::Fishstick::ISA = qw(Food::Fish  Life::Fungus  Chemicals);
      @Food::Fish::ISA = qw(Food);
      @Food::ISA = qw(Matter);
      @Life::Fungus::ISA = qw(Life);
      @Chemicals::ISA = qw(Matter);
      @Life::ISA = qw(Matter);
      @Matter::ISA = qw();

      use Class::ISA;
      print "Food::Fishstick path is:\n ",
            join(", ", Class::ISA::super_path('Food::Fishstick')),

    That prints:

      Food::Fishstick path is:
       Food::Fish, Food, Matter, Life::Fungus, Life, Chemicals

    Suppose you have a class (like Food::Fish::Fishstick) that is derived,
    via its @ISA, from one or more superclasses (as Food::Fish::Fishstick is
    from Food::Fish, Life::Fungus, and Chemicals), and some of those
    superclasses may themselves each be derived, via its @ISA, from one or
    more superclasses (as above).

    When, then, you call a method in that class ($fishstick->calories), Perl
    first searches there for that method, but if it's not there, it goes
    searching in its superclasses, and so on, in a depth-first (or maybe
    "height-first" is the word) search. In the above example, it'd first
    look in Food::Fish, then Food, then Matter, then Life::Fungus, then
    Life, then Chemicals.

    This library, Class::ISA, provides functions that return that list --
    the list (in order) of names of classes Perl would search to find a
    method, with no duplicates.

    the function Class::ISA::super_path($CLASS)
        This returns the ordered list of names of classes that Perl would
        search thru in order to find a method, with no duplicates in the
        list. $CLASS is not included in the list. UNIVERSAL is not included
        -- if you need to consider it, add it to the end.

    the function Class::ISA::self_and_super_path($CLASS)
        Just like "super_path", except that $CLASS is included as the first

    the function Class::ISA::self_and_super_versions($CLASS)
        This returns a hash whose keys are $CLASS and its
        (super-)superclasses, and whose values are the contents of each
        class's $VERSION (or undef, for classes with no $VERSION).

        The code for self_and_super_versions is meant to serve as an example
        for precisely the kind of tasks I anticipate that
        self_and_super_path and super_path will be used for. You are
        strongly advised to read the source for self_and_super_versions, and
        the comments there.

    * Class::ISA doesn't export anything. You have to address the functions
    with a "Class::ISA::" on the front.

    * Contrary to its name, Class::ISA isn't a class; it's just a package.
    Strange, isn't it?

    * Say you have a loop in the ISA tree of the class you're calling one of
    the Class::ISA functions on: say that Food inherits from Matter, but
    Matter inherits from Food (for sake of argument). If Perl, while
    searching for a method, actually discovers this cyclicity, it will throw
    a fatal error. The functions in Class::ISA effectively ignore this
    cyclicity; the Class::ISA algorithm is "never go down the same path
    twice", and cyclicities are just a special case of that.

    * The Class::ISA functions just look at @ISAs. But theoretically, I
    suppose, AUTOLOADs could bypass Perl's ISA-based search mechanism and do
    whatever they please. That would be bad behavior, tho; and I try not to
    think about that.

    * If Perl can't find a method anywhere in the ISA tree, it then looks in
    the magical class UNIVERSAL. This is rarely relevant to the tasks that I
    expect Class::ISA functions to be put to, but if it matters to you, then
    instead of this:

      @supers = Class::Tree::super_path($class);

    do this:

      @supers = (Class::Tree::super_path($class), 'UNIVERSAL');

    And don't say no-one ever told ya!

    * When you call them, the Class::ISA functions look at @ISAs anew --
    that is, there is no memoization, and so if ISAs change during runtime,
    you get the current ISA tree's path, not anything memoized. However,
    changing ISAs at runtime is probably a sign that you're out of your

    Copyright (c) 1999-2009 Sean M. Burke. All rights reserved.

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

    Sean M. Burke ""

    Maintained by Steffen Mueller "".