POE::Filter::Reference(3) User Contributed Perl Documentation POE::Filter::Reference(3)

POE::Filter::Reference - freeze and thaw arbitrary Perl data

use YAML;
use POE qw(Wheel::ReadWrite Filter::Reference);
  inline_states => {
    _start => sub {
      pipe(my($read, $write)) or die $!;
      $_[HEAP]{io} = POE::Wheel::ReadWrite->new(
        InputHandle => $read,
        OutputHandle => $write,
        Filter => POE::Filter::Reference->new(),
        InputEvent => "got_perl_data",
        { key_1 => 111, key_2 => 222 }
    got_perl_data => sub {
      print "Got data:\n", YAML::Dump($_[ARG0]);
      print "Bye!\n";
      delete $_[HEAP]{io};

POE::Filter::Reference allows programs to send and receive arbitrary Perl data structures without worrying about a line protocol. Its put() method serializes Perl data into a byte stream suitable for transmission. get_one() parses the data structures back out of such a stream.

By default, POE::Filter::Reference uses Storable to do its magic. A different serializer may be specified at construction time.

new() creates and initializes a POE::Filter::Reference object. It accepts a list of named parameters.


Any class that supports nfreeze() (or freeze()) and thaw() may be used as a Serializer. If a Serializer implements both nfreeze() and freeze(), then the "network" (nfreeze) version will be used.

Serializer may be a class name:

# Use Storable explicitly, specified by package name.
my $filter = POE::Filter::Reference->newer( Serializer=>"Storable" );
# Use YAML instead.  Compress its output, as it may be verbose.
my $filter = POE::Filter::Reference->new("YAML", 1);

Serializer may also be an object:

# Use an object.
my $serializer = Data::Serializer::Something->new();
my $filter = POE::Filter::Reference->newer( Serializer => $serializer );

If Serializer is omitted or undef, the Reference filter will try to use Storable, FreezeThaw, and YAML in that order. POE::Filter::Reference will die if it cannot find one of these serializers, but this rarely happens now that Storable and YAML are bundled with Perl.


If Compression is true, Compress::Zlib will be called upon to reduce the size of serialized data. It will also decompress the incoming stream data.


"MaxBuffer" sets the maximum amount of data that the filter will hold onto while trying to build a new reference. Defaults to 512 MB.


If NoFatals is true, messages will be thawed inside a block eval. By default, however, thaw() is allowed to die normally. If an error occurs while NoFatals is in effect, POE::Filter::Reference will return a string containing the contents of $@ at the time the eval failed. So when using NoFatals, it's important to check whether input is really a reference:

sub got_reference {
  my $message = $_[ARG0];
  if (ref $message) {
    print "Got data:\n", YAML::Dump($message);
  else {
    warn "Input decode error: $message\n";

new() will try to load any classes it needs for "Compression" or "Serializer".

This is the old constructor synatx. It does not conform to the normal POE::Filter constructor parameter syntax. Please use the new syntax instead.

Calling "new" like this is equivalent to

POE::Filter::Reference->new( Serializer => SERIALIZER,
                             Compression => COMPRESSION,
                             NoFatals  => NO_FATALS );

Please note that if you have a custom serializer class called "Serializer" you will have to update your code to the new syntax.

Here's what POE::Filter::Reference expects of its serializers.

thaw() is required. It accepts two parameters: $self and a scalar containing a SERIALIZED byte stream representing a single Perl data structure. It returns a reconstituted Perl data structure.

sub thaw {
  my ($self, $stream) = @_;
  my $reference = $self->_deserialization_magic($stream);
  return $reference;

Either nfreeze() or freeze() is required. They behave identically, except that nfreeze() is guaranteed to be portable across networks and between machine architectures.

These freezers accept two parameters: $self and a REFERENCE to Perl data. They return a serialized version of the REFERENCEd data.

sub nfreeze {
  my ($self, $reference) = @_;
  my $stream = $self->_serialization_magic($reference);
  return $stream;

freeze() is an alternative form of nfreeze(). It has the same call signature as nfreeze(), but it doesn't guarantee that serialized data will be portable across machine architectures.

If you must choose between implementing freeze() and nfreeze() for use with POE::Filter::Reference, go with nfreeze().

Please see POE::Filter for documentation regarding the base interface.

The SEE ALSO section in POE contains a table of contents covering the entire POE distribution.

Not so much bugs as caveats:

It's important to use identical serializers on each end of a connection. Even different versions of the same serializer can break data in transit.

Most (if not all) serializers will re-bless data at the destination, but many of them will not load the necessary classes to make those blessings work. Make sure the same classes and versions are available on either end of the wire.

The Reference filter was contributed by Artur Bergman, with changes by Philip Gwyn.

Please see POE for more information about authors and contributors.

2024-07-13 perl v5.38.2