This is a fun error message.

Given a function and a function call that look like these:

sub do_something {
    my $object = @_;

    $object->method;
}

print "before\n";
do_something('some data');
print "after\n";

We get the following output:

$ perl code.pl 

before
Can't locate object method "method" via package "1" (perhaps you forgot to load "1"?) at code.pl line 4.

This is a run-time error, as we can see by the fact that 'before' was printed but 'after' not.

If we had called the function this way:

print "before\n";
do_something();
print "after\n";

we would get:

before
Can't locate object method "method" via package "0" (perhaps you forgot to load "0"?) at code.pl line 4.

By this difference, can you already guess what was that package "1" that is now package "0"?

The explanation

The problem is that in the do_something subroutine we assigned the @_ to a scalar variable that put it in SCALAR context. In scalar context an array will return its size. The number of elements of the array. In the first case there was one parameter and so perl assigned the number 1 to the variable $object. In the second case there were no parameters and thus Perl assigned the number 0 to $object.

What if we call do_something with two parameters?

do_something('foo', 'bar');

Can't locate object method "method" via package "2" (perhaps you forgot to load "2"?) at code.pl line 4.

Not surprisingly (any more), perl assigned the number 2 to $object.

The solution is to put the left-hand-side of the assignment in parentheses, thereby providing LIST context to the array that will then copy its elements to the list on the left hand side. If the list contains a single scalar variable then the first element of the array will be assigned to that variable.

So the function declaration should look like this:

sub do_something {
    my ($object) = @_;

    $object->method;
}