6.6 Closure Variables as Inputs

While the previous examples showed closure variables being modified, closure variables are also useful to provide initial or lasting input to the subroutine. For example, let's write a subroutine to create a File::Find callback that prints files exceeding a certain size:

use File::Find;

sub print_bigger_than {
  my $minimum_size = shift;
  return sub { print "$File::Find::name\n" if -f and -s >= $minimum_size };

my $bigger_than_1024 = print_bigger_than(1024);
find($bigger_than_1024, "bin");

The 1024 parameter is passed into the print_bigger_than, which then gets shifted into the $minimum_size lexical variable. Because you access this variable within the subroutine referenced by the return value of the print_bigger_than variable, it becomes a closure variable, with a value that persists for the duration of that subroutine reference. Again, invoking this subroutine multiple times creates distinct "locked-in" values for $minimum_size, each bound to its corresponding subroutine reference.

Closures are "closed" only on lexical variables, since lexical variables eventually go out of scope. Because a package variable (which is a global) never goes out of scope, a closure never closes on a package variable. All subroutines refer to the same single instance of the global variable.