Attributes

Read Only vs Read/Write attributes

A simple class with attributes:

package Alien;
use Moo;

has eyes      => (is => 'rw'); # read/write
has nostrils  => (is => 'ro'); # read only

1;

Using the class:

my $alien = Alien->new( nostrils => 20 );
$alien->eyes(10);     # succeeds
$alien->nostrils(10); # dies

Default vs builders

package Alien;
use Moo;

has eyes     => (is => 'ro', default => sub { 5 });
has nostrils => (is => 'ro', builder => '_build_nostrils');

# Perlism: methods that start with _ are private
sub _build_nostrils { 5 }

Best practices:

Lazy attributes

Normal attributes are initialized during object construction. Lazy attributes are not initialized until the attribute is used.

has tentacles => (is => 'ro', lazy => 1, builder => '_build_tentacles');

Best practices:

Attribute initialization order is unpredictable

Because the order in which attributes are initialized is random, using default can cause bugs. In this example if tentacle_count is initialized after tentacles the builder will throw an exception because $self->tentacle_count is undefined:

package Alien;
use Moo;
use Tentacle;

has tentacle_count => (is => 'ro', default => sub { 5 }); # <---- BUG
has tentacles      => (is => 'ro', builder => '_build_tentacles');

sub _build_tentacles { 
    my $self = shift;
    my @tentacles;

    push @tentacles, Tentacle->new() for (1..$self->tentacle_count);

    return \@tentacles;
}

The solution is to use lazy attributes. Here is the same code with the bug fixed:

package Alien;
use Moo;
use Tentacle;

has tentacles      => (is => 'lazy'); # <---- BUG FIXED
has tentacle_count => (is => 'ro', default => sub { 5 });

sub _build_tentacles { 
    my $self = shift;
    my @tentacles;

    push @tentacles, Tentacle->new() for (1..$self->tentacle_count);

    return \@tentacles;
}