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Perl 5 version 20.2 documentation
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  • shift ARRAY

  • shift EXPR
  • shift

    Shifts the first value of the array off and returns it, shortening the array by 1 and moving everything down. If there are no elements in the array, returns the undefined value. If ARRAY is omitted, shifts the @_ array within the lexical scope of subroutines and formats, and the @ARGV array outside a subroutine and also within the lexical scopes established by the eval STRING , BEGIN {} , INIT {} , CHECK {} , UNITCHECK {} , and END {} constructs.

    Starting with Perl 5.14, shift can take a scalar EXPR, which must hold a reference to an unblessed array. The argument will be dereferenced automatically. This aspect of shift is considered highly experimental. The exact behaviour may change in a future version of Perl.

    To avoid confusing would-be users of your code who are running earlier versions of Perl with mysterious syntax errors, put this sort of thing at the top of your file to signal that your code will work only on Perls of a recent vintage:

    1. use 5.014; # so push/pop/etc work on scalars (experimental)

    See also unshift, push, and pop. shift and unshift do the same thing to the left end of an array that pop and push do to the right end.