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select function

Reset default output or do I/O multiplexing

    select FILEHANDLE
    select
    select RBITS,WBITS,EBITS,TIMEOUT

Returns the currently selected filehandle. Sets the current default filehandle for output, if FILEHANDLE is supplied. This has two effects: first, a write() or a print() without a filehandle will default to this FILEHANDLE. Second, references to variables related to output will refer to this output channel. For example, if you have to set the top of form format for more than one output channel, you might do the following:

    select(REPORT1);
    $^ = 'report1_top';
    select(REPORT2);
    $^ = 'report2_top';

FILEHANDLE may be an expression whose value gives the name of the actual filehandle. Thus:

    $oldfh = select(STDERR); $| = 1; select($oldfh);

Some programmers may prefer to think of filehandles as objects with methods, preferring to write the last example as:

    use IO::Handle;
    STDERR->autoflush(1);

This calls the select(2) system call with the bit masks specified, which can be constructed using fileno() and vec(), along these lines:

    $rin = $win = $ein = '';
    vec($rin,fileno(STDIN),1) = 1;
    vec($win,fileno(STDOUT),1) = 1;
    $ein = $rin | $win;

If you want to select on many filehandles you might wish to write a subroutine:

    sub fhbits {
        my(@fhlist) = split(' ',$_[0]);
        my($bits);
        for (@fhlist) {
            vec($bits,fileno($_),1) = 1;
        }
        $bits;
    }
    $rin = fhbits('STDIN TTY SOCK');

The usual idiom is:

    ($nfound,$timeleft) =
      select($rout=$rin, $wout=$win, $eout=$ein, $timeout);

or to block until something becomes ready just do this

    $nfound = select($rout=$rin, $wout=$win, $eout=$ein, undef);

Most systems do not bother to return anything useful in $timeleft, so calling select() in scalar context just returns $nfound.

Any of the bit masks can also be undef. The timeout, if specified, is in seconds, which may be fractional. Note: not all implementations are capable of returning the$timeleft. If not, they always return $timeleft equal to the supplied $timeout.

You can effect a sleep of 250 milliseconds this way:

    select(undef, undef, undef, 0.25);

WARNING: One should not attempt to mix buffered I/O (like read() or <FH>) with select(), except as permitted by POSIX, and even then only on POSIX systems. You have to use sysread() instead.

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