perliol - C API for Perl's implementation of IO in Layers.


       /* Defining a layer ... */
       #include <perliol.h>


   This document describes the behavior and implementation of the PerlIO
   abstraction described in perlapio when "USE_PERLIO" is defined.

   History and Background
   The PerlIO abstraction was introduced in perl5.003_02 but languished as
   just an abstraction until perl5.7.0. However during that time a number
   of perl extensions switched to using it, so the API is mostly fixed to
   maintain (source) compatibility.

   The aim of the implementation is to provide the PerlIO API in a
   flexible and platform neutral manner. It is also a trial of an "Object
   Oriented C, with vtables" approach which may be applied to Perl 6.

   Basic Structure
   PerlIO is a stack of layers.

   The low levels of the stack work with the low-level operating system
   calls (file descriptors in C) getting bytes in and out, the higher
   layers of the stack buffer, filter, and otherwise manipulate the I/O,
   and return characters (or bytes) to Perl.  Terms above and below are
   used to refer to the relative positioning of the stack layers.

   A layer contains a "vtable", the table of I/O operations (at C level a
   table of function pointers), and status flags.  The functions in the
   vtable implement operations like "open", "read", and "write".

   When I/O, for example "read", is requested, the request goes from Perl
   first down the stack using "read" functions of each layer, then at the
   bottom the input is requested from the operating system services, then
   the result is returned up the stack, finally being interpreted as Perl

   The requests do not necessarily go always all the way down to the
   operating system: that's where PerlIO buffering comes into play.

   When you do an open() and specify extra PerlIO layers to be deployed,
   the layers you specify are "pushed" on top of the already existing
   default stack.  One way to see it is that "operating system is on the
   left" and "Perl is on the right".

   What exact layers are in this default stack depends on a lot of things:
   your operating system, Perl version, Perl compile time configuration,
   and Perl runtime configuration.  See PerlIO, "PERLIO" in perlrun, and
   open for more information.

   binmode() operates similarly to open(): by default the specified layers
   are pushed on top of the existing stack.

   However, note that even as the specified layers are "pushed on top" for
   open() and binmode(), this doesn't mean that the effects are limited to
   the "top": PerlIO layers can be very 'active' and inspect and affect
   layers also deeper in the stack.  As an example there is a layer called
   "raw" which repeatedly "pops" layers until it reaches the first layer
   that has declared itself capable of handling binary data.  The "pushed"
   layers are processed in left-to-right order.

   sysopen() operates (unsurprisingly) at a lower level in the stack than
   open().  For example in Unix or Unix-like systems sysopen() operates
   directly at the level of file descriptors: in the terms of PerlIO
   layers, it uses only the "unix" layer, which is a rather thin wrapper
   on top of the Unix file descriptors.

   Layers vs Disciplines
   Initial discussion of the ability to modify IO streams behaviour used
   the term "discipline" for the entities which were added. This came (I
   believe) from the use of the term in "sfio", which in turn borrowed it
   from "line disciplines" on Unix terminals. However, this document (and
   the C code) uses the term "layer".

   This is, I hope, a natural term given the implementation, and should
   avoid connotations that are inherent in earlier uses of "discipline"
   for things which are rather different.

   Data Structures
   The basic data structure is a PerlIOl:

           typedef struct _PerlIO PerlIOl;
           typedef struct _PerlIO_funcs PerlIO_funcs;
           typedef PerlIOl *PerlIO;

           struct _PerlIO
            PerlIOl *      next;       /* Lower layer */
            PerlIO_funcs * tab;        /* Functions for this layer */
            U32            flags;      /* Various flags for state */

   A "PerlIOl *" is a pointer to the struct, and the application level
   "PerlIO *" is a pointer to a "PerlIOl *" - i.e. a pointer to a pointer
   to the struct. This allows the application level "PerlIO *" to remain
   constant while the actual "PerlIOl *" underneath changes. (Compare
   perl's "SV *" which remains constant while its "sv_any" field changes
   as the scalar's type changes.) An IO stream is then in general
   represented as a pointer to this linked-list of "layers".

   It should be noted that because of the double indirection in a "PerlIO
   *", a "&(perlio->next)" "is" a "PerlIO *", and so to some degree at
   least one layer can use the "standard" API on the next layer down.

   A "layer" is composed of two parts:

   1.  The functions and attributes of the "layer class".

   2.  The per-instance data for a particular handle.

   Functions and Attributes
   The functions and attributes are accessed via the "tab" (for table)
   member of "PerlIOl". The functions (methods of the layer "class") are
   fixed, and are defined by the "PerlIO_funcs" type. They are broadly the
   same as the public "PerlIO_xxxxx" functions:

    struct _PerlIO_funcs
     Size_t     fsize;
     char *     name;
     Size_t     size;
     IV         kind;
     IV         (*Pushed)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,
                                const char *mode,
                                SV *arg,
                                PerlIO_funcs *tab);
     IV         (*Popped)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     PerlIO *   (*Open)(pTHX_ PerlIO_funcs *tab,
                              PerlIO_list_t *layers, IV n,
                              const char *mode,
                              int fd, int imode, int perm,
                              PerlIO *old,
                              int narg, SV **args);
     IV         (*Binmode)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     SV *       (*Getarg)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, CLONE_PARAMS *param, int flags)
     IV         (*Fileno)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     PerlIO *   (*Dup)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,
                             PerlIO *o,
                             CLONE_PARAMS *param,
                             int flags)
     /* Unix-like functions - cf sfio line disciplines */
     SSize_t    (*Read)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, void *vbuf, Size_t count);
     SSize_t    (*Unread)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, const void *vbuf, Size_t count);
     SSize_t    (*Write)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, const void *vbuf, Size_t count);
     IV         (*Seek)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, Off_t offset, int whence);
     Off_t      (*Tell)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     IV         (*Close)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     /* Stdio-like buffered IO functions */
     IV         (*Flush)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     IV         (*Fill)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     IV         (*Eof)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     IV         (*Error)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     void       (*Clearerr)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     void       (*Setlinebuf)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     /* Perl's snooping functions */
     STDCHAR *  (*Get_base)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     Size_t     (*Get_bufsiz)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     STDCHAR *  (*Get_ptr)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     SSize_t    (*Get_cnt)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);
     void       (*Set_ptrcnt)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,STDCHAR *ptr,SSize_t cnt);

   The first few members of the struct give a function table size for
   compatibility check "name" for the layer, the  size to "malloc" for the
   per-instance data, and some flags which are attributes of the class as
   whole (such as whether it is a buffering layer), then follow the
   functions which fall into four basic groups:

   1.  Opening and setup functions

   2.  Basic IO operations

   3.  Stdio class buffering options.

   4.  Functions to support Perl's traditional "fast" access to the

   A layer does not have to implement all the functions, but the whole
   table has to be present. Unimplemented slots can be NULL (which will
   result in an error when called) or can be filled in with stubs to
   "inherit" behaviour from a "base class". This "inheritance" is fixed
   for all instances of the layer, but as the layer chooses which stubs to
   populate the table, limited "multiple inheritance" is possible.

   Per-instance Data
   The per-instance data are held in memory beyond the basic PerlIOl
   struct, by making a PerlIOl the first member of the layer's struct

           typedef struct
            struct _PerlIO base;       /* Base "class" info */
            STDCHAR *      buf;        /* Start of buffer */
            STDCHAR *      end;        /* End of valid part of buffer */
            STDCHAR *      ptr;        /* Current position in buffer */
            Off_t          posn;       /* Offset of buf into the file */
            Size_t         bufsiz;     /* Real size of buffer */
            IV             oneword;    /* Emergency buffer */
           } PerlIOBuf;

   In this way (as for perl's scalars) a pointer to a PerlIOBuf can be
   treated as a pointer to a PerlIOl.

   Layers in action.
                   table           perlio          unix
               |           |
               +-----------+    +----------+    +--------+
      PerlIO ->|           |--->|  next    |--->|  NULL  |
               +-----------+    +----------+    +--------+
               |           |    |  buffer  |    |   fd   |
               +-----------+    |          |    +--------+
               |           |    +----------+

   The above attempts to show how the layer scheme works in a simple case.
   The application's "PerlIO *" points to an entry in the table(s)
   representing open (allocated) handles. For example the first three
   slots in the table correspond to "stdin","stdout" and "stderr". The
   table in turn points to the current "top" layer for the handle - in
   this case an instance of the generic buffering layer "perlio". That
   layer in turn points to the next layer down - in this case the low-
   level "unix" layer.

   The above is roughly equivalent to a "stdio" buffered stream, but with
   much more flexibility:

   *   If Unix level "read"/"write"/"lseek" is not appropriate for (say)
       sockets then the "unix" layer can be replaced (at open time or even
       dynamically) with a "socket" layer.

   *   Different handles can have different buffering schemes. The "top"
       layer could be the "mmap" layer if reading disk files was quicker
       using "mmap" than "read". An "unbuffered" stream can be implemented
       simply by not having a buffer layer.

   *   Extra layers can be inserted to process the data as it flows
       through.  This was the driving need for including the scheme in
       perl 5.7.0+ - we needed a mechanism to allow data to be translated
       between perl's internal encoding (conceptually at least Unicode as
       UTF-8), and the "native" format used by the system. This is
       provided by the ":encoding(xxxx)" layer which typically sits above
       the buffering layer.

   *   A layer can be added that does "\n" to CRLF translation. This layer
       can be used on any platform, not just those that normally do such

   Per-instance flag bits
   The generic flag bits are a hybrid of "O_XXXXX" style flags deduced
   from the mode string passed to "PerlIO_open()", and state bits for
   typical buffer layers.

       End of file.

       Writes are permitted, i.e. opened as "w" or "r+" or "a", etc.

       Reads are permitted i.e. opened "r" or "w+" (or even "a+" - ick).

       An error has occurred (for "PerlIO_error()").

       Truncate file suggested by open mode.

       All writes should be appends.

       Layer is performing Win32-like "\n" mapped to CR,LF for output and
       CR,LF mapped to "\n" for input. Normally the provided "crlf" layer
       is the only layer that need bother about this. "PerlIO_binmode()"
       will mess with this flag rather than add/remove layers if the
       "PERLIO_K_CANCRLF" bit is set for the layers class.

       Data written to this layer should be UTF-8 encoded; data provided
       by this layer should be considered UTF-8 encoded. Can be set on any
       layer by ":utf8" dummy layer. Also set on ":encoding" layer.

       Layer is unbuffered - i.e. write to next layer down should occur
       for each write to this layer.

       The buffer for this layer currently holds data written to it but
       not sent to next layer.

       The buffer for this layer currently holds unconsumed data read from
       layer below.

       Layer is line buffered. Write data should be passed to next layer
       down whenever a "\n" is seen. Any data beyond the "\n" should then
       be processed.

       File has been "unlink()"ed, or should be deleted on "close()".

       Handle is open.

       This instance of this layer supports the "fast "gets"" interface.
       Normally set based on "PERLIO_K_FASTGETS" for the class and by the
       existence of the function(s) in the table. However a class that
       normally provides that interface may need to avoid it on a
       particular instance. The "pending" layer needs to do this when it
       is pushed above a layer which does not support the interface.
       (Perl's "sv_gets()" does not expect the streams fast "gets"
       behaviour to change during one "get".)

   Methods in Detail
               Size_t fsize;

       Size of the function table. This is compared against the value
       PerlIO code "knows" as a compatibility check. Future versions may
       be able to tolerate layers compiled against an old version of the

               char * name;

       The name of the layer whose open() method Perl should invoke on
       open().  For example if the layer is called APR, you will call:

         open $fh, ">:APR", ...

       and Perl knows that it has to invoke the PerlIOAPR_open() method
       implemented by the APR layer.

               Size_t size;

       The size of the per-instance data structure, e.g.:


       If this field is zero then "PerlIO_pushed" does not malloc anything
       and assumes layer's Pushed function will do any required layer
       stack manipulation - used to avoid malloc/free overhead for dummy
       layers.  If the field is non-zero it must be at least the size of
       "PerlIOl", "PerlIO_pushed" will allocate memory for the layer's
       data structures and link new layer onto the stream's stack. (If the
       layer's Pushed method returns an error indication the layer is
       popped again.)

               IV kind;


           The layer is buffered.

       *   PERLIO_K_RAW

           The layer is acceptable to have in a binmode(FH) stack - i.e.
           it does not (or will configure itself not to) transform bytes
           passing through it.


           Layer can translate between "\n" and CRLF line ends.


           Layer allows buffer snooping.


           Used when the layer's open() accepts more arguments than usual.
           The extra arguments should come not before the "MODE" argument.
           When this flag is used it's up to the layer to validate the

        IV     (*Pushed)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,const char *mode, SV *arg);

       The only absolutely mandatory method. Called when the layer is
       pushed onto the stack.  The "mode" argument may be NULL if this
       occurs post-open. The "arg" will be non-"NULL" if an argument
       string was passed. In most cases this should call
       "PerlIOBase_pushed()" to convert "mode" into the appropriate
       "PERLIO_F_XXXXX" flags in addition to any actions the layer itself
       takes.  If a layer is not expecting an argument it need neither
       save the one passed to it, nor provide "Getarg()" (it could perhaps
       "Perl_warn" that the argument was un-expected).

       Returns 0 on success. On failure returns -1 and should set errno.

               IV      (*Popped)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Called when the layer is popped from the stack. A layer will
       normally be popped after "Close()" is called. But a layer can be
       popped without being closed if the program is dynamically managing
       layers on the stream. In such cases "Popped()" should free any
       resources (buffers, translation tables, ...) not held directly in
       the layer's struct.  It should also "Unread()" any unconsumed data
       that has been read and buffered from the layer below back to that
       layer, so that it can be re-provided to what ever is now above.

       Returns 0 on success and failure.  If "Popped()" returns true then
       perlio.c assumes that either the layer has popped itself, or the
       layer is super special and needs to be retained for other reasons.
       In most cases it should return false.

               PerlIO *        (*Open)(...);

       The "Open()" method has lots of arguments because it combines the
       functions of perl's "open", "PerlIO_open", perl's "sysopen",
       "PerlIO_fdopen" and "PerlIO_reopen".  The full prototype is as

        PerlIO *       (*Open)(pTHX_ PerlIO_funcs *tab,
                               PerlIO_list_t *layers, IV n,
                               const char *mode,
                               int fd, int imode, int perm,
                               PerlIO *old,
                               int narg, SV **args);

       Open should (perhaps indirectly) call "PerlIO_allocate()" to
       allocate a slot in the table and associate it with the layers
       information for the opened file, by calling "PerlIO_push".  The
       layers is an array of all the layers destined for the "PerlIO *",
       and any arguments passed to them, n is the index into that array of
       the layer being called. The macro "PerlIOArg" will return a
       (possibly "NULL") SV * for the argument passed to the layer.

       The mode string is an ""fopen()"-like" string which would match the
       regular expression "/^[I#]?[rwa]\+?[bt]?$/".

       The 'I' prefix is used during creation of "stdin".."stderr" via
       special "PerlIO_fdopen" calls; the '#' prefix means that this is
       "sysopen" and that imode and perm should be passed to
       "PerlLIO_open3"; 'r' means read, 'w' means write and 'a' means
       append. The '+' suffix means that both reading and
       writing/appending are permitted.  The 'b' suffix means file should
       be binary, and 't' means it is text. (Almost all layers should do
       the IO in binary mode, and ignore the b/t bits. The ":crlf" layer
       should be pushed to handle the distinction.)

       If old is not "NULL" then this is a "PerlIO_reopen". Perl itself
       does not use this (yet?) and semantics are a little vague.

       If fd not negative then it is the numeric file descriptor fd, which
       will be open in a manner compatible with the supplied mode string,
       the call is thus equivalent to "PerlIO_fdopen". In this case nargs
       will be zero.

       If nargs is greater than zero then it gives the number of arguments
       passed to "open", otherwise it will be 1 if for example
       "PerlIO_open" was called.  In simple cases SvPV_nolen(*args) is the
       pathname to open.

       If a layer provides "Open()" it should normally call the "Open()"
       method of next layer down (if any) and then push itself on top if
       that succeeds.  "PerlIOBase_open" is provided to do exactly that,
       so in most cases you don't have to write your own "Open()" method.
       If this method is not defined, other layers may have difficulty
       pushing themselves on top of it during open.

       If "PerlIO_push" was performed and open has failed, it must
       "PerlIO_pop" itself, since if it's not, the layer won't be removed
       and may cause bad problems.

       Returns "NULL" on failure.

               IV        (*Binmode)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Optional. Used when ":raw" layer is pushed (explicitly or as a
       result of binmode(FH)). If not present layer will be popped. If
       present should configure layer as binary (or pop itself) and return
       0.  If it returns -1 for error "binmode" will fail with layer still
       on the stack.

               SV *      (*Getarg)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,
                                   CLONE_PARAMS *param, int flags);

       Optional. If present should return an SV * representing the string
       argument passed to the layer when it was pushed. e.g.
       ":encoding(ascii)" would return an SvPV with value "ascii". (param
       and flags arguments can be ignored in most cases)

       "Dup" uses "Getarg" to retrieve the argument originally passed to
       "Pushed", so you must implement this function if your layer has an
       extra argument to "Pushed" and will ever be "Dup"ed.

               IV        (*Fileno)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Returns the Unix/Posix numeric file descriptor for the handle.
       Normally "PerlIOBase_fileno()" (which just asks next layer down)
       will suffice for this.

       Returns -1 on error, which is considered to include the case where
       the layer cannot provide such a file descriptor.

               PerlIO * (*Dup)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, PerlIO *o,
                               CLONE_PARAMS *param, int flags);

       XXX: Needs more docs.

       Used as part of the "clone" process when a thread is spawned (in
       which case param will be non-NULL) and when a stream is being
       duplicated via '&' in the "open".

       Similar to "Open", returns PerlIO* on success, "NULL" on failure.

               SSize_t (*Read)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, void *vbuf, Size_t count);

       Basic read operation.

       Typically will call "Fill" and manipulate pointers (possibly via
       the API).  "PerlIOBuf_read()" may be suitable for derived classes
       which provide "fast gets" methods.

       Returns actual bytes read, or -1 on an error.

               SSize_t (*Unread)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,
                                 const void *vbuf, Size_t count);

       A superset of stdio's "ungetc()". Should arrange for future reads
       to see the bytes in "vbuf". If there is no obviously better
       implementation then "PerlIOBase_unread()" provides the function by
       pushing a "fake" "pending" layer above the calling layer.

       Returns the number of unread chars.

               SSize_t (*Write)(PerlIO *f, const void *vbuf, Size_t count);

       Basic write operation.

       Returns bytes written or -1 on an error.

               IV      (*Seek)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f, Off_t offset, int whence);

       Position the file pointer. Should normally call its own "Flush"
       method and then the "Seek" method of next layer down.

       Returns 0 on success, -1 on failure.

               Off_t   (*Tell)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return the file pointer. May be based on layers cached concept of
       position to avoid overhead.

       Returns -1 on failure to get the file pointer.

               IV      (*Close)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Close the stream. Should normally call "PerlIOBase_close()" to
       flush itself and close layers below, and then deallocate any data
       structures (buffers, translation tables, ...) not  held directly in
       the data structure.

       Returns 0 on success, -1 on failure.

               IV      (*Flush)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Should make stream's state consistent with layers below. That is,
       any buffered write data should be written, and file position of
       lower layers adjusted for data read from below but not actually
       consumed.  (Should perhaps "Unread()" such data to the lower

       Returns 0 on success, -1 on failure.

               IV      (*Fill)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       The buffer for this layer should be filled (for read) from layer
       below.  When you "subclass" PerlIOBuf layer, you want to use its
       _read method and to supply your own fill method, which fills the
       PerlIOBuf's buffer.

       Returns 0 on success, -1 on failure.

               IV      (*Eof)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return end-of-file indicator. "PerlIOBase_eof()" is normally

       Returns 0 on end-of-file, 1 if not end-of-file, -1 on error.

               IV      (*Error)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return error indicator. "PerlIOBase_error()" is normally

       Returns 1 if there is an error (usually when "PERLIO_F_ERROR" is
       set), 0 otherwise.

               void    (*Clearerr)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Clear end-of-file and error indicators. Should call
       "PerlIOBase_clearerr()" to set the "PERLIO_F_XXXXX" flags, which
       may suffice.

               void    (*Setlinebuf)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Mark the stream as line buffered. "PerlIOBase_setlinebuf()" sets
       the PERLIO_F_LINEBUF flag and is normally sufficient.

               STDCHAR *       (*Get_base)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Allocate (if not already done so) the read buffer for this layer
       and return pointer to it. Return NULL on failure.

               Size_t  (*Get_bufsiz)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return the number of bytes that last "Fill()" put in the buffer.

               STDCHAR *       (*Get_ptr)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return the current read pointer relative to this layer's buffer.

               SSize_t (*Get_cnt)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f);

       Return the number of bytes left to be read in the current buffer.

               void    (*Set_ptrcnt)(pTHX_ PerlIO *f,
                                     STDCHAR *ptr, SSize_t cnt);

       Adjust the read pointer and count of bytes to match "ptr" and/or
       "cnt".  The application (or layer above) must ensure they are
       consistent.  (Checking is allowed by the paranoid.)

   To ask for the next layer down use PerlIONext(PerlIO *f).

   To check that a PerlIO* is valid use PerlIOValid(PerlIO *f).  (All this
   does is really just to check that the pointer is non-NULL and that the
   pointer behind that is non-NULL.)

   PerlIOBase(PerlIO *f) returns the "Base" pointer, or in other words,
   the "PerlIOl*" pointer.

   PerlIOSelf(PerlIO* f, type) return the PerlIOBase cast to a type.

   Perl_PerlIO_or_Base(PerlIO* f, callback, base, failure, args) either
   calls the callback from the functions of the layer f (just by the name
   of the IO function, like "Read") with the args, or if there is no such
   callback, calls the base version of the callback with the same args, or
   if the f is invalid, set errno to EBADF and return failure.

   Perl_PerlIO_or_fail(PerlIO* f, callback, failure, args) either calls
   the callback of the functions of the layer f with the args, or if there
   is no such callback, set errno to EINVAL.  Or if the f is invalid, set
   errno to EBADF and return failure.

   Perl_PerlIO_or_Base_void(PerlIO* f, callback, base, args) either calls
   the callback of the functions of the layer f with the args, or if there
   is no such callback, calls the base version of the callback with the
   same args, or if the f is invalid, set errno to EBADF.

   Perl_PerlIO_or_fail_void(PerlIO* f, callback, args) either calls the
   callback of the functions of the layer f with the args, or if there is
   no such callback, set errno to EINVAL.  Or if the f is invalid, set
   errno to EBADF.

   Implementing PerlIO Layers
   If you find the implementation document unclear or not sufficient, look
   at the existing PerlIO layer implementations, which include:

   *   C implementations

       The perlio.c and perliol.h in the Perl core implement the "unix",
       "perlio", "stdio", "crlf", "utf8", "byte", "raw", "pending" layers,
       and also the "mmap" and "win32" layers if applicable.  (The "win32"
       is currently unfinished and unused, to see what is used instead in
       Win32, see "Querying the layers of filehandles" in PerlIO .)

       PerlIO::encoding, PerlIO::scalar, PerlIO::via in the Perl core.

       PerlIO::gzip and APR::PerlIO (mod_perl 2.0) on CPAN.

   *   Perl implementations

       PerlIO::via::QuotedPrint in the Perl core and PerlIO::via::* on

   If you are creating a PerlIO layer, you may want to be lazy, in other
   words, implement only the methods that interest you.  The other methods
   you can either replace with the "blank" methods


   (which do nothing, and return zero and -1, respectively) or for certain
   methods you may assume a default behaviour by using a NULL method.  The
   Open method looks for help in the 'parent' layer.  The following table
   summarizes the behaviour:

       method      behaviour with NULL

       Clearerr    PerlIOBase_clearerr
       Close       PerlIOBase_close
       Dup         PerlIOBase_dup
       Eof         PerlIOBase_eof
       Error       PerlIOBase_error
       Fileno      PerlIOBase_fileno
       Fill        FAILURE
       Flush       SUCCESS
       Getarg      SUCCESS
       Get_base    FAILURE
       Get_bufsiz  FAILURE
       Get_cnt     FAILURE
       Get_ptr     FAILURE
       Open        INHERITED
       Popped      SUCCESS
       Pushed      SUCCESS
       Read        PerlIOBase_read
       Seek        FAILURE
       Set_cnt     FAILURE
       Set_ptrcnt  FAILURE
       Setlinebuf  PerlIOBase_setlinebuf
       Tell        FAILURE
       Unread      PerlIOBase_unread
       Write       FAILURE

    FAILURE        Set errno (to EINVAL in Unixish, to LIB$_INVARG in VMS)
                   and return -1 (for numeric return values) or NULL (for
    INHERITED      Inherited from the layer below
    SUCCESS        Return 0 (for numeric return values) or a pointer

   Core Layers
   The file "perlio.c" provides the following layers:

       A basic non-buffered layer which calls Unix/POSIX "read()",
       "write()", "lseek()", "close()". No buffering. Even on platforms
       that distinguish between O_TEXT and O_BINARY this layer is always

       A very complete generic buffering layer which provides the whole of
       PerlIO API. It is also intended to be used as a "base class" for
       other layers. (For example its "Read()" method is implemented in
       terms of the "Get_cnt()"/"Get_ptr()"/"Set_ptrcnt()" methods).

       "perlio" over "unix" provides a complete replacement for stdio as
       seen via PerlIO API. This is the default for USE_PERLIO when
       system's stdio does not permit perl's "fast gets" access, and which
       do not distinguish between "O_TEXT" and "O_BINARY".

       A layer which provides the PerlIO API via the layer scheme, but
       implements it by calling system's stdio. This is (currently) the
       default if system's stdio provides sufficient access to allow
       perl's "fast gets" access and which do not distinguish between
       "O_TEXT" and "O_BINARY".

       A layer derived using "perlio" as a base class. It provides
       Win32-like "\n" to CR,LF translation. Can either be applied above
       "perlio" or serve as the buffer layer itself. "crlf" over "unix" is
       the default if system distinguishes between "O_TEXT" and "O_BINARY"
       opens. (At some point "unix" will be replaced by a "native" Win32
       IO layer on that platform, as Win32's read/write layer has various
       drawbacks.) The "crlf" layer is a reasonable model for a layer
       which transforms data in some way.

       If Configure detects "mmap()" functions this layer is provided
       (with "perlio" as a "base") which does "read" operations by
       mmap()ing the file. Performance improvement is marginal on modern
       systems, so it is mainly there as a proof of concept. It is likely
       to be unbundled from the core at some point. The "mmap" layer is a
       reasonable model for a minimalist "derived" layer.

       An "internal" derivative of "perlio" which can be used to provide
       Unread() function for layers which have no buffer or cannot be
       bothered.  (Basically this layer's "Fill()" pops itself off the
       stack and so resumes reading from layer below.)

       A dummy layer which never exists on the layer stack. Instead when
       "pushed" it actually pops the stack removing itself, it then calls
       Binmode function table entry on all the layers in the stack -
       normally this (via PerlIOBase_binmode) removes any layers which do
       not have "PERLIO_K_RAW" bit set. Layers can modify that behaviour
       by defining their own Binmode entry.

       Another dummy layer. When pushed it pops itself and sets the
       "PERLIO_F_UTF8" flag on the layer which was (and now is once more)
       the top of the stack.

   In addition perlio.c also provides a number of "PerlIOBase_xxxx()"
   functions which are intended to be used in the table slots of classes
   which do not need to do anything special for a particular method.

   Extension Layers
   Layers can be made available by extension modules. When an unknown
   layer is encountered the PerlIO code will perform the equivalent of :

      use PerlIO 'layer';

   Where layer is the unknown layer. will then attempt to:

      require PerlIO::layer;

   If after that process the layer is still not defined then the "open"
   will fail.

   The following extension layers are bundled with perl:

          use Encoding;

       makes this layer available, although "knows" where to
       find it.  It is an example of a layer which takes an argument as it
       is called thus:

          open( $fh, "<:encoding(iso-8859-7)", $pathname );

       Provides support for reading data from and writing data to a

          open( $fh, "+<:scalar", \$scalar );

       When a handle is so opened, then reads get bytes from the string
       value of $scalar, and writes change the value. In both cases the
       position in $scalar starts as zero but can be altered via "seek",
       and determined via "tell".

       Please note that this layer is implied when calling open() thus:

          open( $fh, "+<", \$scalar );

       Provided to allow layers to be implemented as Perl code.  For

          use PerlIO::via::StripHTML;
          open( my $fh, "<:via(StripHTML)", "index.html" );

       See PerlIO::via for details.


   Things that need to be done to improve this document.

   *   Explain how to make a valid fh without going through open()(i.e.
       apply a layer). For example if the file is not opened through perl,
       but we want to get back a fh, like it was opened by Perl.

       How PerlIO_apply_layera fits in, where its docs, was it made

       Currently the example could be something like this:

         PerlIO *foo_to_PerlIO(pTHX_ char *mode, ...)
             char *mode; /* "w", "r", etc */
             const char *layers = ":APR"; /* the layer name */
             PerlIO *f = PerlIO_allocate(aTHX);
             if (!f) {
                 return NULL;

             PerlIO_apply_layers(aTHX_ f, mode, layers);

             if (f) {
                 PerlIOAPR *st = PerlIOSelf(f, PerlIOAPR);
                 /* fill in the st struct, as in _open() */
                 st->file = file;
                 PerlIOBase(f)->flags |= PERLIO_F_OPEN;

                 return f;
             return NULL;

   *   fix/add the documentation in places marked as XXX.

   *   The handling of errors by the layer is not specified. e.g. when $!
       should be set explicitly, when the error handling should be just
       delegated to the top layer.

       Probably give some hints on using SETERRNO() or pointers to where
       they can be found.

   *   I think it would help to give some concrete examples to make it
       easier to understand the API. Of course I agree that the API has to
       be concise, but since there is no second document that is more of a
       guide, I think that it'd make it easier to start with the doc which
       is an API, but has examples in it in places where things are
       unclear, to a person who is not a PerlIO guru (yet).

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