What happens if you use a scalar
variable before you give it a value? Nothing serious, and definitely nothing fatal. Variables have the
value before they are first assigned. This value looks like a zero when used as a number, or the zero-length empty string when used as a string. You will get a warning when running under Perl's
switch, though, which is a good way to catch programming errors.
when the arguments are out of range or don't make sense. If you don't do anything special, you'll get a zero or a null string without major consequences. In practice, this scenario is hardly a problem.
One operation we've seen that returns
under certain circumstances is
. Normally, this returns the next line that was read; however, if there are no more lines to read, (such as when you type CTRL-Z at the terminal, or when a file has no more data),
as a value. In
, we'll see how to test for this and take special action when there is no more data available to read.