How to Build a Horse

How to Build a Horse

If we constructed all our horses by hand, we'd most likely make mistakes from time to time. Making the "inside guts" of a Horse visible also violates one of the principles of OOP. That's good if we're a veterinarian but not if we just like to own horses. We let the Horse class build a new horse:

{ package Horse;
  @ISA = qw(Animal);
  sub sound { 'neigh' }
  sub name {
    my $self = shift;
  sub named {
    my $class = shift;
    my $name = shift;
    bless \$name, $class;

Now, with the new named method, we build a Horse:

my $tv_horse = Horse->named('Mr. Ed');

We're back to a class method, so the two arguments to Horse::named are "Horse" and "Mr. Ed". The bless operator not only blesses $name, it also returns the reference to $name, so that's fine as a return value. And that's how we build a horse.

We called the constructor named here so it quickly denotes the constructor's argument as the name for this particular Horse. We can use different constructors with different names for different ways of "giving birth" to the object (such as recording its pedigree or date of birth). However, we'll find that most people use a single constructor named new, with various ways of interpreting the arguments to new. Either style is fine, as long as we document our particular way of giving birth to an object. Most core and CPAN modules use new, with notable exceptions, such as DBI's DBI->connect( ). It's really up to the author.

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