Perl complex data structures

From the Perl Data Structures Cookbook:

You want the get the contents of something that is only a reference:

Perl doesn’t (ever) implicitly dereference your variables. If you want to get at the thing a reference is referring to, then you have to do this yourself using either prefix typing indicators, like ${$blah}, @{$blah}, @{$blah[$i]}, or else postfix pointer arrows, like $a->[3], $h->{fred}, or even $ob->method()->[3].

You want to copy the contents of something that is only a reference:

In fact, except for passing arguments to functions, I seldom like to see the gimme-a-reference operator (backslash) used much at all in code. Instead, I advise beginners that they (and most of the rest of us) should try to use the much more easily understood constructors [] and {} instead of relying upon lexical (or dynamic) scoping and hidden reference-counting to do the right thing behind the scenes.

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