PerlStalker’s SysAdmin Notes

Notes from the life of a systems administrator

Convert a Moose Object Into a Subtype

Originally posted at [2011-06-03 Fri 14:01]

Have you ever had the situation where you had a parent class but you find out later in the code that you really want a subclass? With perl Moose, it’s really easy to do.

Consider the classic point example described in Moose::Cookbook::Basics::Recipe1. Suppose I start with a Point but I decide later that I need that point to shift into 3D. I don’t want to change the values for x and y, I just want to add the new z point. I could brute force it by creating a new point and copying the values over from the old point but that feels like more work than it should be. Well, it is.

Fortunately, Moose uses Class::MOP::Class which provides the rebless_instance method which can convert a object into a subtype.

package Point;
use Moose;

has 'x' => (isa => 'Int', is => 'rw');
has 'y' => (isa => 'Int', is => 'rw');

package Point3D;
use Moose;
extends 'Point';

has 'z' => (isa => 'Int', is => 'rw');

package main;
use Data::Dumper;

my $p1  = Point->new(x => 4, y => 3);
print Dumper $p1;

$p1 = Point3D->meta->rebless_instance($p1);
print Dumper $p1;

And the output:

$VAR1 = bless( {
                 'y' => 3,
                 'x' => 4
               }, 'Point' );
$VAR1 = bless( {
                 'y' => 3,
                 'x' => 4
               }, 'Point3D' );

Now $p1 is a Point3D object rather than a Point object.

You can go backwards, too, with the rebless_instance_back method but you face the potential for data loss when you do that.

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