Perl 5 version 6.1 documentation



perlmodlib - constructing new Perl modules and finding existing ones



Many modules are included the Perl distribution. These are described below, and all end in .pm. You may discover compiled library file (usually ending in .so) or small pieces of modules to be autoloaded (ending in .al); these were automatically generated by the installation process. You may also discover files in the library directory that end in either .pl or .ph. These are old libraries supplied so that old programs that use them still run. The .pl files will all eventually be converted into standard modules, and the .ph files made by h2ph will probably end up as extension modules made by h2xs. (Some .ph values may already be available through the POSIX, Errno, or Fcntl modules.) The pl2pm file in the distribution may help in your conversion, but it's just a mechanical process and therefore far from bulletproof.

Pragmatic Modules

They work somewhat like compiler directives (pragmata) in that they tend to affect the compilation of your program, and thus will usually work well only when used within a use, or no. Most of these are lexically scoped, so an inner BLOCK may countermand them by saying:

  1. no integer;
  2. no strict 'refs';
  3. no warnings;

which lasts until the end of that BLOCK.

Some pragmas are lexically scoped--typically those that affect the $^H hints variable. Others affect the current package instead, like use vars and use subs , which allow you to predeclare a variables or subroutines within a particular file rather than just a block. Such declarations are effective for the entire file for which they were declared. You cannot rescind them with no vars or no subs .

The following pragmas are defined (and have their own documentation).

  • attributes

    Get/set subroutine or variable attributes

  • attrs

    Set/get attributes of a subroutine (deprecated)

  • autouse

    Postpone load of modules until a function is used

  • base

    Establish IS-A relationship with base class at compile time

  • blib

    Use MakeMaker's uninstalled version of a package

  • bytes

    Force byte semantics rather than character semantics

  • charnames

    Define character names for \N{named} string literal escape.

  • constant

    Declare constants

  • diagnostics

    Perl compiler pragma to force verbose warning diagnostics

  • fields

    Compile-time class fields

  • filetest

    Control the filetest permission operators

  • integer

    Use integer arithmetic instead of floating point

  • less

    Request less of something from the compiler

  • lib

    Manipulate @INC at compile time

  • locale

    Use and avoid POSIX locales for built-in operations

  • open

    Set default disciplines for input and output

  • ops

    Restrict unsafe operations when compiling

  • overload

    Package for overloading perl operations

  • re

    Alter regular expression behaviour

  • sigtrap

    Enable simple signal handling

  • strict

    Restrict unsafe constructs

  • subs

    Predeclare sub names

  • utf8

    Enable/disable UTF-8 in source code

  • vars

    Predeclare global variable names (obsolete)

  • warnings

    Control optional warnings

  • warnings::register

    Warnings import function

Standard Modules

Standard, bundled modules are all expected to behave in a well-defined manner with respect to namespace pollution because they use the Exporter module. See their own documentation for details.

  • AnyDBM_File

    Provide framework for multiple DBMs

  • AutoLoader

    Load subroutines only on demand

  • AutoSplit

    Split a package for autoloading

  • B

    The Perl Compiler

  • B::Asmdata

    Autogenerated data about Perl ops, used to generate bytecode

  • B::Assembler

    Assemble Perl bytecode

  • B::Bblock

    Walk basic blocks

  • B::Bytecode

    Perl compiler's bytecode backend

  • B::C

    Perl compiler's C backend

  • B::CC

    Perl compiler's optimized C translation backend

  • B::Concise

    Walk Perl syntax tree, printing concise info about ops

  • B::Debug

    Walk Perl syntax tree, printing debug info about ops

  • B::Deparse

    Perl compiler backend to produce perl code

  • B::Disassembler

    Disassemble Perl bytecode

  • B::Lint

    Perl lint

  • B::Showlex

    Show lexical variables used in functions or files

  • B::Stackobj

    Helper module for CC backend

  • B::Stash

    Show what stashes are loaded

  • B::Terse

    Walk Perl syntax tree, printing terse info about ops

  • B::Xref

    Generates cross reference reports for Perl programs

  • Benchmark

    Benchmark running times of Perl code

  • ByteLoader

    Load byte compiled perl code

  • CGI

    Simple Common Gateway Interface Class

  • CGI::Apache

    Backward compatibility module for

  • CGI::Carp

    CGI routines for writing to the HTTPD (or other) error log

  • CGI::Cookie

    Interface to Netscape Cookies

  • CGI::Fast

    CGI Interface for Fast CGI

  • CGI::Pretty

    Module to produce nicely formatted HTML code

  • CGI::Push

    Simple Interface to Server Push

  • CGI::Switch

    Backward compatibility module for defunct CGI::Switch

  • CGI::Util

    Internal utilities used by CGI module

  • CPAN

    Query, download and build perl modules from CPAN sites

  • CPAN::FirstTime

    Utility for CPAN::Config file Initialization

  • CPAN::Nox

    Wrapper around without using any XS module

  • Carp

    Warn of errors (from perspective of caller)

  • Carp::Heavy

    Carp guts

  • Class::Struct

    Declare struct-like datatypes as Perl classes

  • Cwd

    Get pathname of current working directory

  • DB

    Programmatic interface to the Perl debugging API (draft, subject to

  • DB_File

    Perl5 access to Berkeley DB version 1.x

  • Devel::SelfStubber

    Generate stubs for a SelfLoading module

  • DirHandle

    Supply object methods for directory handles

  • Dumpvalue

    Provides screen dump of Perl data.

  • English

    Use nice English (or awk) names for ugly punctuation variables

  • Env

    Perl module that imports environment variables as scalars or arrays

  • Exporter

    Implements default import method for modules

  • Exporter::Heavy

    Exporter guts

  • ExtUtils::Command

    Utilities to replace common UNIX commands in Makefiles etc.

  • ExtUtils::Embed

    Utilities for embedding Perl in C/C++ applications

  • ExtUtils::Install

    Install files from here to there

  • ExtUtils::Installed

    Inventory management of installed modules

  • ExtUtils::Liblist

    Determine libraries to use and how to use them

  • ExtUtils::MM_Cygwin

    Methods to override UN*X behaviour in ExtUtils::MakeMaker

  • ExtUtils::MM_OS2

    Methods to override UN*X behaviour in ExtUtils::MakeMaker

  • ExtUtils::MM_Unix

    Methods used by ExtUtils::MakeMaker

  • ExtUtils::MM_VMS

    Methods to override UN*X behaviour in ExtUtils::MakeMaker

  • ExtUtils::MM_Win32

    Methods to override UN*X behaviour in ExtUtils::MakeMaker

  • ExtUtils::MakeMaker

    Create an extension Makefile

  • ExtUtils::Manifest

    Utilities to write and check a MANIFEST file

  • ExtUtils::Mkbootstrap

    Make a bootstrap file for use by DynaLoader

  • ExtUtils::Mksymlists

    Write linker options files for dynamic extension

  • ExtUtils::Packlist

    Manage .packlist files

  • ExtUtils::testlib

    Add blib/* directories to @INC

  • Fatal

    Replace functions with equivalents which succeed or die

  • Fcntl

    Load the C Fcntl.h defines

  • File::Basename

    Split a pathname into pieces

  • File::CheckTree

    Run many filetest checks on a tree

  • File::Compare

    Compare files or filehandles

  • File::Copy

    Copy files or filehandles

  • File::DosGlob

    DOS like globbing and then some

  • File::Find

    Traverse a file tree

  • File::Path

    Create or remove directory trees

  • File::Spec

    Portably perform operations on file names

  • File::Spec::Epoc

    Methods for Epoc file specs

  • File::Spec::Functions

    Portably perform operations on file names

  • File::Spec::Mac

    File::Spec for MacOS

  • File::Spec::OS2

    Methods for OS/2 file specs

  • File::Spec::Unix

    Methods used by File::Spec

  • File::Spec::VMS

    Methods for VMS file specs

  • File::Spec::Win32

    Methods for Win32 file specs

  • File::Temp

    Return name and handle of a temporary file safely

  • File::stat

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in stat() functions

  • FileCache

    Keep more files open than the system permits

  • FileHandle

    Supply object methods for filehandles

  • FindBin

    Locate directory of original perl script

  • GDBM_File

    Perl5 access to the gdbm library.

  • Getopt::Long

    Extended processing of command line options

  • Getopt::Std

    Process single-character switches with switch clustering

  • I18N::Collate

    Compare 8-bit scalar data according to the current locale

  • IO

    Load various IO modules

  • IPC::Open2

    Open a process for both reading and writing

  • IPC::Open3

    Open a process for reading, writing, and error handling

  • Math::BigFloat

    Arbitrary length float math package

  • Math::BigInt

    Arbitrary size integer math package

  • Math::Complex

    Complex numbers and associated mathematical functions

  • Math::Trig

    Trigonometric functions

  • Net::Ping

    Check a remote host for reachability

  • Net::hostent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in gethost*() functions

  • Net::netent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in getnet*() functions

  • Net::protoent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in getproto*() functions

  • Net::servent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in getserv*() functions

  • O

    Generic interface to Perl Compiler backends

  • Opcode

    Disable named opcodes when compiling perl code


    Perl interface to IEEE Std 1003.1

  • Pod::Checker

    Check pod documents for syntax errors

  • Pod::Find

    Find POD documents in directory trees

  • Pod::Html

    Module to convert pod files to HTML

  • Pod::InputObjects

    Objects representing POD input paragraphs, commands, etc.

  • Pod::LaTeX

    Convert Pod data to formatted Latex

  • Pod::Man

    Convert POD data to formatted *roff input

  • Pod::ParseUtils

    Helpers for POD parsing and conversion

  • Pod::Parser

    Base class for creating POD filters and translators

  • Pod::Plainer

    Perl extension for converting Pod to old style Pod.

  • Pod::Select

    Extract selected sections of POD from input

  • Pod::Text

    Convert POD data to formatted ASCII text

  • Pod::Text::Color

    Convert POD data to formatted color ASCII text

  • Pod::Text::Overstrike

    Convert POD data to formatted overstrike text

  • Pod::Text::Termcap

    Convert POD data to ASCII text with format escapes

  • Pod::Usage

    Print a usage message from embedded pod documentation

  • SDBM_File

    Tied access to sdbm files

  • Safe

    Compile and execute code in restricted compartments

  • Search::Dict

    Search for key in dictionary file

  • SelectSaver

    Save and restore selected file handle

  • SelfLoader

    Load functions only on demand

  • Shell

    Run shell commands transparently within perl

  • Socket

    Load the C socket.h defines and structure manipulators

  • Symbol

    Manipulate Perl symbols and their names

  • Term::ANSIColor

    Color screen output using ANSI escape sequences

  • Term::Cap

    Perl termcap interface

  • Term::Complete

    Perl word completion module

  • Term::ReadLine

    Perl interface to various readline packages. If

  • Test

    Provides a simple framework for writing test scripts

  • Test::Harness

    Run perl standard test scripts with statistics

  • Text::Abbrev

    Create an abbreviation table from a list

  • Text::ParseWords

    Parse text into an array of tokens or array of arrays

  • Text::Soundex

    Implementation of the Soundex Algorithm as Described by Knuth

  • Text::Tabs

    Expand and unexpand tabs per the unix expand(1) and unexpand(1)

  • Text::Wrap

    Line wrapping to form simple paragraphs

  • Thread

    Manipulate threads in Perl (EXPERIMENTAL, subject to change)

  • Thread::Queue

    Thread-safe queues

  • Thread::Semaphore

    Thread-safe semaphores

  • Thread::Signal

    Start a thread which runs signal handlers reliably

  • Thread::Specific

    Thread-specific keys

  • Tie::Array

    Base class for tied arrays

  • Tie::Handle

    Base class definitions for tied handles

  • Tie::Hash

    Base class definitions for tied hashes

  • Tie::RefHash

    Use references as hash keys

  • Tie::Scalar

    Base class definitions for tied scalars

  • Tie::SubstrHash

    Fixed-table-size, fixed-key-length hashing

  • Time::Local

    Efficiently compute time from local and GMT time

  • Time::gmtime

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in gmtime() function

  • Time::localtime

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in localtime() function

  • Time::tm

    Internal object used by Time::gmtime and Time::localtime


    Base class for ALL classes (blessed references)

  • User::grent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in getgr*() functions

  • User::pwent

    By-name interface to Perl's built-in getpw*() functions

  • Win32

    Interfaces to some Win32 API Functions

To find out all modules installed on your system, including those without documentation or outside the standard release, just do this:

  1. % find `perl -e 'print "@INC"'` -name '*.pm' -print

They should all have their own documentation installed and accessible via your system man(1) command. If you do not have a find program, you can use the Perl find2perl program instead, which generates Perl code as output you can run through perl. If you have a man program but it doesn't find your modules, you'll have to fix your manpath. See perl for details. If you have no system man command, you might try the perldoc program.

Extension Modules

Extension modules are written in C (or a mix of Perl and C). They are usually dynamically loaded into Perl if and when you need them, but may also be be linked in statically. Supported extension modules include Socket, Fcntl, and POSIX.

Many popular C extension modules do not come bundled (at least, not completely) due to their sizes, volatility, or simply lack of time for adequate testing and configuration across the multitude of platforms on which Perl was beta-tested. You are encouraged to look for them on CPAN (described below), or using web search engines like Alta Vista or Deja News.


CPAN stands for Comprehensive Perl Archive Network; it's a globally replicated trove of Perl materials, including documentation, style guides, tricks and traps, alternate ports to non-Unix systems and occasional binary distributions for these. Search engines for CPAN can be found at and at .

Most importantly, CPAN includes around a thousand unbundled modules, some of which require a C compiler to build. Major categories of modules are:

  • Language Extensions and Documentation Tools

  • Development Support

  • Operating System Interfaces

  • Networking, Device Control (modems) and InterProcess Communication

  • Data Types and Data Type Utilities

  • Database Interfaces

  • User Interfaces

  • Interfaces to / Emulations of Other Programming Languages

  • File Names, File Systems and File Locking (see also File Handles)

  • String Processing, Language Text Processing, Parsing, and Searching

  • Option, Argument, Parameter, and Configuration File Processing

  • Internationalization and Locale

  • Authentication, Security, and Encryption

  • World Wide Web, HTML, HTTP, CGI, MIME

  • Server and Daemon Utilities

  • Archiving and Compression

  • Images, Pixmap and Bitmap Manipulation, Drawing, and Graphing

  • Mail and Usenet News

  • Control Flow Utilities (callbacks and exceptions etc)

  • File Handle and Input/Output Stream Utilities

  • Miscellaneous Modules

Registered CPAN sites as of this writing include the following. You should try to choose one close to you:


  • South Africa



  • China

  • Hong Kong

  • Indonesia

  • Israel

  • Japan

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Singapore

  • South Korea

  • Taiwan

  • Thailand


Central America

  • Costa Rica



  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • England

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Turkey


North America

  • Canada

    • Alberta

    • Manitoba

    • Nova Scotia

    • Ontario

    • Mexico

  • United States

    • Alabama

    • California

    • Colorado

    • Florida

    • Georgia

    • Illinois

    • Indiana

    • Kentucky

    • Massachusetts

    • New Jersey

    • New York

    • North Carolina

    • Ohio

    • Oklahoma

    • Oregon

    • Pennsylvania

    • Tennessee

    • Texas

    • Utah

    • Virginia

    • Washington



  • Australia

  • New Zealand


South America

  • Argentina

  • Brazil

  • Chile


For an up-to-date listing of CPAN sites, see or .

Modules: Creation, Use, and Abuse

(The following section is borrowed directly from Tim Bunce's modules file, available at your nearest CPAN site.)

Perl implements a class using a package, but the presence of a package doesn't imply the presence of a class. A package is just a namespace. A class is a package that provides subroutines that can be used as methods. A method is just a subroutine that expects, as its first argument, either the name of a package (for "static" methods), or a reference to something (for "virtual" methods).

A module is a file that (by convention) provides a class of the same name (sans the .pm), plus an import method in that class that can be called to fetch exported symbols. This module may implement some of its methods by loading dynamic C or C++ objects, but that should be totally transparent to the user of the module. Likewise, the module might set up an AUTOLOAD function to slurp in subroutine definitions on demand, but this is also transparent. Only the .pm file is required to exist. See perlsub, perltoot, and AutoLoader for details about the AUTOLOAD mechanism.

Guidelines for Module Creation

  • Do similar modules already exist in some form?

    If so, please try to reuse the existing modules either in whole or by inheriting useful features into a new class. If this is not practical try to get together with the module authors to work on extending or enhancing the functionality of the existing modules. A perfect example is the plethora of packages in perl4 for dealing with command line options.

    If you are writing a module to expand an already existing set of modules, please coordinate with the author of the package. It helps if you follow the same naming scheme and module interaction scheme as the original author.

  • Try to design the new module to be easy to extend and reuse.

    Try to use warnings; (or use warnings qw(...); ). Remember that you can add no warnings qw(...); to individual blocks of code that need less warnings.

    Use blessed references. Use the two argument form of bless to bless into the class name given as the first parameter of the constructor, e.g.,:

    1. sub new {
    2. my $class = shift;
    3. return bless {}, $class;
    4. }

    or even this if you'd like it to be used as either a static or a virtual method.

    1. sub new {
    2. my $self = shift;
    3. my $class = ref($self) || $self;
    4. return bless {}, $class;
    5. }

    Pass arrays as references so more parameters can be added later (it's also faster). Convert functions into methods where appropriate. Split large methods into smaller more flexible ones. Inherit methods from other modules if appropriate.

    Avoid class name tests like: die "Invalid" unless ref $ref eq 'FOO' . Generally you can delete the eq 'FOO' part with no harm at all. Let the objects look after themselves! Generally, avoid hard-wired class names as far as possible.

    Avoid $r->Class::func() where using @ISA=qw(... Class ...) and $r->func() would work (see perlbot for more details).

    Use autosplit so little used or newly added functions won't be a burden to programs that don't use them. Add test functions to the module after __END__ either using AutoSplit or by saying:

    1. eval join('',<main::DATA>) || die $@ unless caller();

    Does your module pass the 'empty subclass' test? If you say @SUBCLASS::ISA = qw(YOURCLASS); your applications should be able to use SUBCLASS in exactly the same way as YOURCLASS. For example, does your application still work if you change: $obj = new YOURCLASS; into: $obj = new SUBCLASS; ?

    Avoid keeping any state information in your packages. It makes it difficult for multiple other packages to use yours. Keep state information in objects.

    Always use -w.

    Try to use strict; (or use strict qw(...); ). Remember that you can add no strict qw(...); to individual blocks of code that need less strictness.

    Always use -w.

    Follow the guidelines in the perlstyle(1) manual.

    Always use -w.

  • Some simple style guidelines

    The perlstyle manual supplied with Perl has many helpful points.

    Coding style is a matter of personal taste. Many people evolve their style over several years as they learn what helps them write and maintain good code. Here's one set of assorted suggestions that seem to be widely used by experienced developers:

    Use underscores to separate words. It is generally easier to read $var_names_like_this than $VarNamesLikeThis, especially for non-native speakers of English. It's also a simple rule that works consistently with VAR_NAMES_LIKE_THIS.

    Package/Module names are an exception to this rule. Perl informally reserves lowercase module names for 'pragma' modules like integer and strict. Other modules normally begin with a capital letter and use mixed case with no underscores (need to be short and portable).

    You may find it helpful to use letter case to indicate the scope or nature of a variable. For example:

    1. $ALL_CAPS_HERE constants only (beware clashes with Perl vars)
    2. $Some_Caps_Here package-wide global/static
    3. $no_caps_here function scope my() or local() variables

    Function and method names seem to work best as all lowercase. e.g., $obj->as_string() .

    You can use a leading underscore to indicate that a variable or function should not be used outside the package that defined it.

  • Select what to export.

    Do NOT export method names!

    Do NOT export anything else by default without a good reason!

    Exports pollute the namespace of the module user. If you must export try to use @EXPORT_OK in preference to @EXPORT and avoid short or common names to reduce the risk of name clashes.

    Generally anything not exported is still accessible from outside the module using the ModuleName::item_name (or $blessed_ref->method ) syntax. By convention you can use a leading underscore on names to indicate informally that they are 'internal' and not for public use.

    (It is actually possible to get private functions by saying: my $subref = sub { ... }; &$subref; . But there's no way to call that directly as a method, because a method must have a name in the symbol table.)

    As a general rule, if the module is trying to be object oriented then export nothing. If it's just a collection of functions then @EXPORT_OK anything but use @EXPORT with caution.

  • Select a name for the module.

    This name should be as descriptive, accurate, and complete as possible. Avoid any risk of ambiguity. Always try to use two or more whole words. Generally the name should reflect what is special about what the module does rather than how it does it. Please use nested module names to group informally or categorize a module. There should be a very good reason for a module not to have a nested name. Module names should begin with a capital letter.

    Having 57 modules all called Sort will not make life easy for anyone (though having 23 called Sort::Quick is only marginally better :-). Imagine someone trying to install your module alongside many others. If in any doubt ask for suggestions in comp.lang.perl.misc.

    If you are developing a suite of related modules/classes it's good practice to use nested classes with a common prefix as this will avoid namespace clashes. For example: Xyz::Control, Xyz::View, Xyz::Model etc. Use the modules in this list as a naming guide.

    If adding a new module to a set, follow the original author's standards for naming modules and the interface to methods in those modules.

    If developing modules for private internal or project specific use, that will never be released to the public, then you should ensure that their names will not clash with any future public module. You can do this either by using the reserved Local::* category or by using a category name that includes an underscore like Foo_Corp::*.

    To be portable each component of a module name should be limited to 11 characters. If it might be used on MS-DOS then try to ensure each is unique in the first 8 characters. Nested modules make this easier.

  • Have you got it right?

    How do you know that you've made the right decisions? Have you picked an interface design that will cause problems later? Have you picked the most appropriate name? Do you have any questions?

    The best way to know for sure, and pick up many helpful suggestions, is to ask someone who knows. Comp.lang.perl.misc is read by just about all the people who develop modules and it's the best place to ask.

    All you need to do is post a short summary of the module, its purpose and interfaces. A few lines on each of the main methods is probably enough. (If you post the whole module it might be ignored by busy people - generally the very people you want to read it!)

    Don't worry about posting if you can't say when the module will be ready - just say so in the message. It might be worth inviting others to help you, they may be able to complete it for you!

  • README and other Additional Files.

    It's well known that software developers usually fully document the software they write. If, however, the world is in urgent need of your software and there is not enough time to write the full documentation please at least provide a README file containing:

    • A description of the module/package/extension etc.

    • A copyright notice - see below.

    • Prerequisites - what else you may need to have.

    • How to build it - possible changes to Makefile.PL etc.

    • How to install it.

    • Recent changes in this release, especially incompatibilities

    • Changes / enhancements you plan to make in the future.

    If the README file seems to be getting too large you may wish to split out some of the sections into separate files: INSTALL, Copying, ToDo etc.

    • Adding a Copyright Notice.

      How you choose to license your work is a personal decision. The general mechanism is to assert your Copyright and then make a declaration of how others may copy/use/modify your work.

      Perl, for example, is supplied with two types of licence: The GNU GPL and The Artistic Licence (see the files README, Copying, and Artistic). Larry has good reasons for NOT just using the GNU GPL.

      My personal recommendation, out of respect for Larry, Perl, and the Perl community at large is to state something simply like:

      1. Copyright (c) 1995 Your Name. All rights reserved.
      2. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
      3. modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

      This statement should at least appear in the README file. You may also wish to include it in a Copying file and your source files. Remember to include the other words in addition to the Copyright.

    • *

      Give the module a version/issue/release number.

      To be fully compatible with the Exporter and MakeMaker modules you should store your module's version number in a non-my package variable called $VERSION. This should be a floating point number with at least two digits after the decimal (i.e., hundredths, e.g, $VERSION = "0.01" ). Don't use a "1.3.2" style version. See Exporter for details.

      It may be handy to add a function or method to retrieve the number. Use the number in announcements and archive file names when releasing the module (ModuleName-1.02.tar.Z). See perldoc for details.

    • *

      How to release and distribute a module.

      It's good idea to post an announcement of the availability of your module (or the module itself if small) to the comp.lang.perl.announce Usenet newsgroup. This will at least ensure very wide once-off distribution.

      If possible, register the module with CPAN. You should include details of its location in your announcement.

      Some notes about ftp archives: Please use a long descriptive file name that includes the version number. Most incoming directories will not be readable/listable, i.e., you won't be able to see your file after uploading it. Remember to send your email notification message as soon as possible after uploading else your file may get deleted automatically. Allow time for the file to be processed and/or check the file has been processed before announcing its location.

      FTP Archives for Perl Modules:

      Follow the instructions and links on:


      or upload to one of these sites:


      and notify <>.

      By using the WWW interface you can ask the Upload Server to mirror your modules from your ftp or WWW site into your own directory on CPAN!

      Please remember to send me an updated entry for the Module list!

    • *

      Take care when changing a released module.

      Always strive to remain compatible with previous released versions. Otherwise try to add a mechanism to revert to the old behavior if people rely on it. Document incompatible changes.

Guidelines for Converting Perl 4 Library Scripts into Modules

  • There is no requirement to convert anything.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Perl 4 library scripts should continue to work with no problems. You may need to make some minor changes (like escaping non-array @'s in double quoted strings) but there is no need to convert a .pl file into a Module for just that.

  • Consider the implications.

    All Perl applications that make use of the script will need to be changed (slightly) if the script is converted into a module. Is it worth it unless you plan to make other changes at the same time?

  • Make the most of the opportunity.

    If you are going to convert the script to a module you can use the opportunity to redesign the interface. The guidelines for module creation above include many of the issues you should consider.

  • The pl2pm utility will get you started.

    This utility will read *.pl files (given as parameters) and write corresponding *.pm files. The pl2pm utilities does the following:

    • Adds the standard Module prologue lines

    • Converts package specifiers from ' to ::

    • Converts die(...) to croak(...)

    • Several other minor changes

    Being a mechanical process pl2pm is not bullet proof. The converted code will need careful checking, especially any package statements. Don't delete the original .pl file till the new .pm one works!

Guidelines for Reusing Application Code

  • Complete applications rarely belong in the Perl Module Library.

  • Many applications contain some Perl code that could be reused.

    Help save the world! Share your code in a form that makes it easy to reuse.

  • Break-out the reusable code into one or more separate module files.

  • Take the opportunity to reconsider and redesign the interfaces.

  • In some cases the 'application' can then be reduced to a small

    fragment of code built on top of the reusable modules. In these cases the application could invoked as:

    1. % perl -e 'use Module::Name; method(@ARGV)' ...
    2. or
    3. % perl -mModule::Name ... (in perl5.002 or higher)


Perl does not enforce private and public parts of its modules as you may have been used to in other languages like C++, Ada, or Modula-17. Perl doesn't have an infatuation with enforced privacy. It would prefer that you stayed out of its living room because you weren't invited, not because it has a shotgun.

The module and its user have a contract, part of which is common law, and part of which is "written". Part of the common law contract is that a module doesn't pollute any namespace it wasn't asked to. The written contract for the module (A.K.A. documentation) may make other provisions. But then you know when you use RedefineTheWorld that you're redefining the world and willing to take the consequences.