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 perlmodlib - constructing new Perl modules and finding existing ones


NAME

perlmodlib - constructing new Perl modules and finding existing ones


DESCRIPTION


THE PERL MODULE LIBRARY

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:

    no integer;
    no strict 'refs';
    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.pm

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 CPAN.pm 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

POSIX
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

UNIVERSAL
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:

    % 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 the perl manpage 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

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 http://cpan.perl.com/ and at http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/mod_perl/cpan-search.pl .

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

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

Africa

Asia

Central America

Europe

North America

Oceania

South America

For an up-to-date listing of CPAN sites, see http://www.cpan.org/SITES or ftp://www.cpan.org/SITES .


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 the perlsub manpage, the perltoot manpage, and the AutoLoader manpage for details about the AUTOLOAD mechanism.

Guidelines for Module Creation

Guidelines for Converting Perl 4 Library Scripts into Modules

Guidelines for Reusing Application Code


NOTE

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.

 perlmodlib - constructing new Perl modules and finding existing ones