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vec EXPR,OFFSET,BITS

Treats the string in EXPR as a vector of unsigned integers, and returns the value of the bit field specified by OFFSET. BITS specifies the number of bits that are reserved for each entry in the bit vector. This must be a power of two from 1 to 32. vec() may also be assigned to, in which case parentheses are needed to give the expression the correct precedence as in

vec($image, $max_x * $x + $y, 8) = 3;

Vectors created with vec() can also be manipulated with the logical operators |, &, and ^, which will assume a bit vector operation is desired when both operands are strings.

The following code will build up an ASCII string saying 'PerlPerlPerl'. The comments show the string after each step. Note that this code works in the same way on big-endian or little-endian machines.

my $foo = '';
vec($foo,  0, 32) = 0x5065726C;     # 'Perl'
vec($foo,  2, 16) = 0x5065;         # 'PerlPe'
vec($foo,  3, 16) = 0x726C;         # 'PerlPerl'
vec($foo,  8,  8) = 0x50;           # 'PerlPerlP'
vec($foo,  9,  8) = 0x65;           # 'PerlPerlPe'
vec($foo, 20,  4) = 2;              # 'PerlPerlPe'   . "\x02"
vec($foo, 21,  4) = 7;              # 'PerlPerlPer'
                                    # 'r' is "\x72"
vec($foo, 45,  2) = 3;              # 'PerlPerlPer'  . "\x0c"
vec($foo, 93,  1) = 1;              # 'PerlPerlPer'  . "\x2c"
vec($foo, 94,  1) = 1;              # 'PerlPerlPerl'
                                    # 'l' is "\x6c"

To transform a bit vector into a string or array of 0's and 1's, use these:

$bits = unpack("b*", $vector);
@bits = split(//, unpack("b*", $vector));

If you know the exact length in bits, it can be used in place of the *.