Object Representation

By far the most common mechanism used in Perl to represent a Pascal record, a C struct, or a C++ class an anonymous hash. That's because a hash has an arbitrary number of data fields, each conveniently accessed by an arbitrary name of your own devising.

If you were just doing a simple struct-like emulation, you would likely go about it something like this:

    $rec = {
        name  => "Jason",
        age   => 23,
        peers => [ "Norbert", "Rhys", "Phineas"],

If you felt like it, you could add a bit of visual distinction by up-casing the hash keys:

    $rec = {
        NAME  => "Jason",
        AGE   => 23,
        PEERS => [ "Norbert", "Rhys", "Phineas"],

And so you could get at $rec->{NAME} to find ``Jason'', or @{ $rec->{PEERS} } to get at ``Norbert'', ``Rhys'', and ``Phineas''. (Have you ever noticed how many 23-year-old programmers seem to be named ``Jason'' these days? :-)

This same model is often used for classes, although it is not considered the pinnacle of programming propriety for folks from outside the class to come waltzing into an object, brazenly accessing its data members directly. Generally speaking, an object should be considered an opaque cookie that you use object methods to access. Visually, methods look like you're dereffing a reference using a function name instead of brackets or braces.