Content-type: text/html Man page of Module::Build

# Module::Build

Section: Perl Programmers Reference Guide (3perl)
Updated: 2009-08-16

## NAME

Module::Build - Build and install Perl modules

## SYNOPSIS

Standard process for building & installing modules:

  perl Build.PL
./Build
./Build test
./Build install



Or, if you're on a platform (like DOS or Windows) that doesn't require the ./'' notation, you can do this:

  perl Build.PL
Build
Build test
Build install



## DESCRIPTION

"Module::Build" is a system for building, testing, and installing Perl modules. It is meant to be an alternative to "ExtUtils::MakeMaker". Developers may alter the behavior of the module through subclassing in a much more straightforward way than with "MakeMaker". It also does not require a "make" on your system - most of the "Module::Build" code is pure-perl and written in a very cross-platform way. In fact, you don't even need a shell, so even platforms like MacOS (traditional) can use it fairly easily. Its only prerequisites are modules that are included with perl 5.6.0, and it works fine on perl 5.005 if you can install a few additional modules.

See MOTIVATIONS'' for more comparisons between "ExtUtils::MakeMaker" and "Module::Build".

To install "Module::Build", and any other module that uses "Module::Build" for its installation process, do the following:

  perl Build.PL       # 'Build.PL' script creates the 'Build' script
./Build             # Need ./ to ensure we're using this "Build" script
./Build test        # and not another one that happens to be in the PATH
./Build install



This illustrates initial configuration and the running of three 'actions'. In this case the actions run are 'build' (the default action), 'test', and 'install'. Other actions defined so far include:

  build                          manifest
clean                          manpages
code                           pardist
config_data                    ppd
diff                           ppmdist
dist                           prereq_report
distcheck                      pure_install
distclean                      realclean
distdir                        retest
distmeta                       skipcheck
distsign                       test
disttest                       testall
docs                           testcover
fakeinstall                    testdb
help                           testpod
html                           testpodcoverage
install                        versioninstall



You can run the 'help' action for a complete list of actions.

## GUIDE TO DOCUMENTATION

The documentation for "Module::Build" is broken up into three sections:
General Usage (Module::Build)
This is the document you are currently reading. It describes basic usage and background information. Its main purpose is to assist the user who wants to learn how to invoke and control "Module::Build" scripts at the command line.
Authoring Reference (Module::Build::Authoring)
This document describes the structure and organization of "Module::Build", and the relevant concepts needed by authors who are writing Build.PL scripts for a distribution or controlling "Module::Build" processes programmatically.
API Reference (Module::Build::API)
This is a reference to the "Module::Build" API.
Cookbook (Module::Build::Cookbook)
This document demonstrates how to accomplish many common tasks. It covers general command line usage and authoring of Build.PL scripts. Includes working examples.

## ACTIONS

There are some general principles at work here. First, each task when building a module is called an action''. These actions are listed above; they correspond to the building, testing, installing, packaging, etc., tasks.

Second, arguments are processed in a very systematic way. Arguments are always key=value pairs. They may be specified at "perl Build.PL" time (i.e. "perl Build.PL destdir=/my/secret/place"), in which case their values last for the lifetime of the "Build" script. They may also be specified when executing a particular action (i.e. "Build test verbose=1"), in which case their values last only for the lifetime of that command. Per-action command line parameters take precedence over parameters specified at "perl Build.PL" time.

The build process also relies heavily on the "Config.pm" module. If the user wishes to override any of the values in "Config.pm", she may specify them like so:

  perl Build.PL --config cc=gcc --config ld=gcc



The following build actions are provided by default.

build
[version 0.01]

If you run the "Build" script without any arguments, it runs the "build" action, which in turn runs the "code" and "docs" actions.

This is analogous to the MakeMaker 'make all' target.

clean
[version 0.01]

This action will clean up any files that the build process may have created, including the "blib/" directory (but not including the "_build/" directory and the "Build" script itself).

code
[version 0.20]

By default it just creates a "blib/" directory and copies any ".pm" and ".pod" files from your "lib/" directory into the "blib/" directory. It also compiles any ".xs" files from "lib/" and places them in "blib/". Of course, you need a working C compiler (probably the same one that built perl itself) for the compilation to work properly.

The "code" action also runs any ".PL" files in your lib/ directory. Typically these create other files, named the same but without the ".PL" ending. For example, a file lib/Foo/Bar.pm.PL could create the file lib/Foo/Bar.pm. The ".PL" files are processed first, so any ".pm" files (or other kinds that we deal with) will get copied correctly.

config_data
[version 0.26]

...

diff
[version 0.14]

This action will compare the files about to be installed with their installed counterparts. For .pm and .pod files, a diff will be shown (this currently requires a 'diff' program to be in your PATH). For other files like compiled binary files, we simply report whether they differ.

A "flags" parameter may be passed to the action, which will be passed to the 'diff' program. Consult your 'diff' documentation for the parameters it will accept - a good one is "-u":

  ./Build diff flags=-u


dist
[version 0.02]

This action is helpful for module authors who want to package up their module for source distribution through a medium like CPAN. It will create a tarball of the files listed in MANIFEST and compress the tarball using GZIP compression.

By default, this action will use the external "tar" and "gzip" executables on Unix-like platforms, and the "Archive::Tar" module elsewhere. However, you can force it to use whatever executable you want by supplying an explicit "tar" (and optional "gzip") parameter:

  ./Build dist --tar C:\path\to\tar.exe --gzip C:\path\to\zip.exe


distcheck
[version 0.05]

Reports which files are in the build directory but not in the MANIFEST file, and vice versa. (See manifest for details.)

distclean
[version 0.05]

Performs the 'realclean' action and then the 'distcheck' action.

distdir
[version 0.05]

Creates a distribution directory'' named "$dist_name-$dist_version" (if that directory already exists, it will be removed first), then copies all the files listed in the MANIFEST file to that directory. This directory is what the distribution tarball is created from.

distmeta
[version 0.21]

Creates the META.yml file that describes the distribution.

META.yml is a file containing various bits of metadata'' about the distribution. The metadata includes the distribution name, version, abstract, prerequisites, license, and various other data about the distribution. This file is created as META.yml in YAML format. It is recommended that the "YAML" module be installed to create it. If the "YAML" module is not installed, an internal module supplied with Module::Build will be used to write the META.yml file, and this will most likely be fine.

META.yml file must also be listed in MANIFEST - if it's not, a warning will be issued.

The current version of the META.yml specification can be found at <http://module-build.sourceforge.net/META-spec-current.html>

distsign
[version 0.16]

Uses "Module::Signature" to create a SIGNATURE file for your distribution, and adds the SIGNATURE file to the distribution's MANIFEST.

disttest
[version 0.05]

Performs the 'distdir' action, then switches into that directory and runs a "perl Build.PL", followed by the 'build' and 'test' actions in that directory.

docs
[version 0.20]

This will generate documentation (e.g. Unix man pages and html documents) for any installable items under blib/ that contain POD. If there are no "bindoc" or "libdoc" installation targets defined (as will be the case on systems that don't support Unix manpages) no action is taken for manpages. If there are no "binhtml" or "libhtml" installation targets defined no action is taken for html documents.

fakeinstall
[version 0.02]

This is just like the "install" action, but it won't actually do anything, it will just report what it would have done if you had actually run the "install" action.

help
[version 0.03]

This action will simply print out a message that is meant to help you use the build process. It will show you a list of available build actions too.

With an optional argument specifying an action name (e.g. "Build help test"), the 'help' action will show you any POD documentation it can find for that action.

html
[version 0.26]

This will generate HTML documentation for any binary or library files under blib/ that contain POD. The HTML documentation will only be installed if the install paths can be determined from values in "Config.pm". You can also supply or override install paths on the command line by specifying "install_path" values for the "binhtml" and/or "libhtml" installation targets.

install
[version 0.01]

This action will use "ExtUtils::Install" to install the files from "blib/" into the system. See INSTALL PATHS'' for details about how Module::Build determines where to install things, and how to influence this process.

If you want the installation process to look around in @INC for other versions of the stuff you're installing and try to delete it, you can use the "uninst" parameter, which tells "ExtUtils::Install" to do so:

  ./Build install uninst=1



This can be a good idea, as it helps prevent multiple versions of a module from being present on your system, which can be a confusing situation indeed.

manifest
[version 0.05]

This is an action intended for use by module authors, not people installing modules. It will bring the MANIFEST up to date with the files currently present in the distribution. You may use a MANIFEST.SKIP file to exclude certain files or directories from inclusion in the MANIFEST. MANIFEST.SKIP should contain a bunch of regular expressions, one per line. If a file in the distribution directory matches any of the regular expressions, it won't be included in the MANIFEST.

The following is a reasonable MANIFEST.SKIP starting point, you can add your own stuff to it:

  ^_build
^Build$^blib ~$
\.bak$^MANIFEST\.SKIP$
CVS



See the distcheck and skipcheck actions if you want to find out what the "manifest" action would do, without actually doing anything.

manpages
[version 0.28]

This will generate man pages for any binary or library files under blib/ that contain POD. The man pages will only be installed if the install paths can be determined from values in "Config.pm". You can also supply or override install paths by specifying there values on the command line with the "bindoc" and "libdoc" installation targets.

pardist
[version 0.2806]

Generates a PAR binary distribution for use with PAR or PAR::Dist.

It requires that the PAR::Dist module (version 0.17 and up) is installed on your system.

ppd
[version 0.20]

Build a PPD file for your distribution.

This action takes an optional argument "codebase" which is used in the generated ppd file to specify the (usually relative) URL of the distribution. By default, this value is the distribution name without any path information.

Example:

  ./Build ppd --codebase "MSWin32-x86-multi-thread/Module-Build-0.21.tar.gz"


ppmdist
[version 0.23]

Generates a PPM binary distribution and a PPD description file. This action also invokes the 'ppd' action, so it can accept the same "codebase" argument described under that action.

This uses the same mechanism as the "dist" action to tar & zip its output, so you can supply "tar" and/or "gzip" parameters to affect the result.

prereq_report
[version 0.28]

This action prints out a list of all prerequisites, the versions required, and the versions actually installed. This can be useful for reviewing the configuration of your system prior to a build, or when compiling data to send for a bug report.

pure_install
[version 0.28]

This action is identical to the "install" action. In the future, though, when "install" starts writing to the file $(INSTALLARCHLIB)/perllocal.pod, "pure_install" won't, and that will be the only difference between them. realclean [version 0.01] This action is just like the "clean" action, but also removes the "_build" directory and the "Build" script. If you run the "realclean" action, you are essentially starting over, so you will have to re-create the "Build" script again. retest [version 0.2806] This is just like the "test" action, but doesn't actually build the distribution first, and doesn't add blib/ to the load path, and therefore will test against a previously installed version of the distribution. This can be used to verify that a certain installed distribution still works, or to see whether newer versions of a distribution still pass the old regression tests, and so on. skipcheck [version 0.05] Reports which files are skipped due to the entries in the MANIFEST.SKIP file (See manifest for details) test [version 0.01] This will use "Test::Harness" to run any regression tests and report their results. Tests can be defined in the standard places: a file called "test.pl" in the top-level directory, or several files ending with ".t" in a "t/" directory. If you want tests to be 'verbose', i.e. show details of test execution rather than just summary information, pass the argument "verbose=1". If you want to run tests under the perl debugger, pass the argument "debugger=1". In addition, if a file called "visual.pl" exists in the top-level directory, this file will be executed as a Perl script and its output will be shown to the user. This is a good place to put speed tests or other tests that don't use the "Test::Harness" format for output. To override the choice of tests to run, you may pass a "test_files" argument whose value is a whitespace-separated list of test scripts to run. This is especially useful in development, when you only want to run a single test to see whether you've squashed a certain bug yet:  ./Build test --test_files t/something_failing.t  You may also pass several "test_files" arguments separately:  ./Build test --test_files t/one.t --test_files t/two.t  or use a "glob()"-style pattern:  ./Build test --test_files 't/01-*.t'  testall [verion 0.2807] [Note: the 'testall' action and the code snippets below are currently in alpha stage, see /www.nntp.perl.org/group/perl.module.build/2007/03/msg584.html'' in ''http: ] Runs the "test" action plus each of the "test$type" actions defined by the keys of the "test_types" parameter.

Currently, you need to define the ACTION_test$type method yourself and enumerate them in the test_types parameter.  my$mb = Module::Build->subclass(
code => q(
sub ACTION_testspecial { shift->generic_test(type => 'special'); }
sub ACTION_testauthor  { shift->generic_test(type => 'author'); }
)
)->new(
...
test_types  => {
special => '.st',
author  => '.at',
},
...


testcover
[version 0.26]

Runs the "test" action using "Devel::Cover", generating a code-coverage report showing which parts of the code were actually exercised during the tests.

To pass options to "Devel::Cover", set the $DEVEL_COVER_OPTIONS environment variable:  DEVEL_COVER_OPTIONS=-ignore,Build ./Build testcover  testdb [version 0.05] This is a synonym for the 'test' action with the "debugger=1" argument. testpod [version 0.25] This checks all the files described in the "docs" action and produces "Test::Harness"-style output. If you are a module author, this is useful to run before creating a new release. testpodcoverage [version 0.28] This checks the pod coverage of the distribution and produces "Test::Harness"-style output. If you are a module author, this is useful to run before creating a new release. versioninstall [version 0.16] ** Note: since "only.pm" is so new, and since we just recently added support for it here too, this feature is to be considered experimental. ** If you have the "only.pm" module installed on your system, you can use this action to install a module into the version-specific library trees. This means that you can have several versions of the same module installed and "use" a specific one like this:  use only MyModule => 0.55;  To override the default installation libraries in "only::config", specify the "versionlib" parameter when you run the "Build.PL" script:  perl Build.PL --versionlib /my/version/place/  To override which version the module is installed as, specify the "versionlib" parameter when you run the "Build.PL" script:  perl Build.PL --version 0.50  See the "only.pm" documentation for more information on version-specific installs. ## OPTIONS ### Command Line Options The following options can be used during any invocation of "Build.PL" or the Build script, during any action. For information on other options specific to an action, see the documentation for the respective action. NOTE: There is some preliminary support for options to use the more familiar long option style. Most options can be preceded with the "--" long option prefix, and the underscores changed to dashes (e.g. --use-rcfile). Additionally, the argument to boolean options is optional, and boolean options can be negated by prefixing them with 'no' or 'no-' (e.g. --noverbose or --no-verbose). quiet Suppress informative messages on output. use_rcfile Load the ~/.modulebuildrc option file. This option can be set to false to prevent the custom resource file from being loaded. verbose Display extra information about the Build on output. allow_mb_mismatch Suppresses the check upon startup that the version of Module::Build we're now running under is the same version that was initially invoked when building the distribution (i.e. when the "Build.PL" script was first run). Use with caution. ### Default Options File (.modulebuildrc) [version 0.28] When Module::Build starts up, it will look first for a file,$ENV{HOME}/.modulebuildrc. If it's not found there, it will look in the the .modulebuildrc file in the directories referred to by the environment variables "HOMEDRIVE" + "HOMEDIR", "USERPROFILE", "APPDATA", "WINDIR", "SYS$LOGIN". If the file exists, the options specified there will be used as defaults, as if they were typed on the command line. The defaults can be overridden by specifying new values on the command line. The action name must come at the beginning of the line, followed by any amount of whitespace and then the options. Options are given the same as they would be on the command line. They can be separated by any amount of whitespace, including newlines, as long there is whitespace at the beginning of each continued line. Anything following a hash mark ("#") is considered a comment, and is stripped before parsing. If more than one line begins with the same action name, those lines are merged into one set of options. Besides the regular actions, there are two special pseudo-actions: the key "*" (asterisk) denotes any global options that should be applied to all actions, and the key 'Build_PL' specifies options to be applied when you invoke "perl Build.PL".  * verbose=1 # global options diff flags=-u install --install_base /home/ken --install_path html=/home/ken/docs/html  If you wish to locate your resource file in a different location, you can set the environment variable 'MODULEBUILDRC' to the complete absolute path of the file containing your options. ## INSTALL PATHS [version 0.19] When you invoke Module::Build's "build" action, it needs to figure out where to install things. The nutshell version of how this works is that default installation locations are determined from Config.pm, and they may be overridden by using the "install_path" parameter. An "install_base" parameter lets you specify an alternative installation root like /home/foo, and a "destdir" lets you specify a temporary installation directory like /tmp/install in case you want to create bundled-up installable packages. Natively, Module::Build provides default installation locations for the following types of installable items: lib Usually pure-Perl module files ending in .pm. arch Architecture-dependent'' module files, usually produced by compiling XS, Inline, or similar code. script Programs written in pure Perl. In order to improve reuse, try to make these as small as possible - put the code into modules whenever possible. bin Architecture-dependent'' executable programs, i.e. compiled C code or something. Pretty rare to see this in a perl distribution, but it happens. bindoc Documentation for the stuff in "script" and "bin". Usually generated from the POD in those files. Under Unix, these are manual pages belonging to the 'man1' category. libdoc Documentation for the stuff in "lib" and "arch". This is usually generated from the POD in .pm files. Under Unix, these are manual pages belonging to the 'man3' category. binhtml This is the same as "bindoc" above, but applies to html documents. libhtml This is the same as "bindoc" above, but applies to html documents. Four other parameters let you control various aspects of how installation paths are determined: installdirs The default destinations for these installable things come from entries in your system's "Config.pm". You can select from three different sets of default locations by setting the "installdirs" parameter as follows:  'installdirs' set to: core site vendor uses the following defaults from Config.pm: lib => installprivlib installsitelib installvendorlib arch => installarchlib installsitearch installvendorarch script => installscript installsitebin installvendorbin bin => installbin installsitebin installvendorbin bindoc => installman1dir installsiteman1dir installvendorman1dir libdoc => installman3dir installsiteman3dir installvendorman3dir binhtml => installhtml1dir installsitehtml1dir installvendorhtml1dir [*] libhtml => installhtml3dir installsitehtml3dir installvendorhtml3dir [*] * Under some OS (eg. MSWin32) the destination for html documents is determined by the C<Config.pm> entry C<installhtmldir>.  The default value of "installdirs" is site''. If you're creating vendor distributions of module packages, you may want to do something like this:  perl Build.PL --installdirs vendor  or  ./Build install --installdirs vendor  If you're installing an updated version of a module that was included with perl itself (i.e. a core module''), then you may set "installdirs" to core'' to overwrite the module in its present location. (Note that the 'script' line is different from MakeMaker - unfortunately there's no such thing as installsitescript'' or installvendorscript'' entry in "Config.pm", so we use the installsitebin'' and installvendorbin'' entries to at least get the general location right. In the future, if "Config.pm" adds some more appropriate entries, we'll start using those.) install_path Once the defaults have been set, you can override them. On the command line, that would look like this:  perl Build.PL --install_path lib=/foo/lib --install_path arch=/foo/lib/arch  or this:  ./Build install --install_path lib=/foo/lib --install_path arch=/foo/lib/arch  install_base You can also set the whole bunch of installation paths by supplying the "install_base" parameter to point to a directory on your system. For instance, if you set "install_base" to /home/ken'' on a Linux system, you'll install as follows:  lib => /home/ken/lib/perl5 arch => /home/ken/lib/perl5/i386-linux script => /home/ken/bin bin => /home/ken/bin bindoc => /home/ken/man/man1 libdoc => /home/ken/man/man3 binhtml => /home/ken/html libhtml => /home/ken/html  Note that this is different from how MakeMaker's "PREFIX" parameter works. "install_base" just gives you a default layout under the directory you specify, which may have little to do with the "installdirs=site" layout. The exact layout under the directory you specify may vary by system - we try to do the sensible'' thing on each platform. destdir If you want to install everything into a temporary directory first (for instance, if you want to create a directory tree that a package manager like "rpm" or "dpkg" could create a package from), you can use the "destdir" parameter:  perl Build.PL --destdir /tmp/foo  or  ./Build install --destdir /tmp/foo  This will effectively install to /tmp/foo/$sitelib'', /tmp/foo/\$sitearch'', and the like, except that it will use "File::Spec" to make the pathnames work correctly on whatever platform you're installing on.

prefix
Provided for compatibility with ExtUtils::MakeMaker's PREFIX argument. "prefix" should be used when you wish Module::Build to install your modules, documentation and scripts in the same place ExtUtils::MakeMaker does.

The following are equivalent.

    perl Build.PL --prefix /tmp/foo
perl Makefile.PL PREFIX=/tmp/foo



Because of the very complex nature of the prefixification logic, the behavior of PREFIX in MakeMaker has changed subtly over time. Module::Build's --prefix logic is equivalent to the PREFIX logic found in ExtUtils::MakeMaker 6.30.

If you do not need to retain compatibility with ExtUtils::MakeMaker or are starting a fresh Perl installation we recommand you use "install_base" instead (and "INSTALL_BASE" in ExtUtils::MakeMaker). See Instaling in the same location as ExtUtils::MakeMaker'' in Module::Build::Cookbook for further information.

## MOTIVATIONS

There are several reasons I wanted to start over, and not just fix what I didn't like about MakeMaker:
I don't like the core idea of MakeMaker, namely that "make" should be involved in the build process. Here are my reasons:
+
When a person is installing a Perl module, what can you assume about their environment? Can you assume they have "make"? No, but you can assume they have some version of Perl.
+
When a person is writing a Perl module for intended distribution, can you assume that they know how to build a Makefile, so they can customize their build process? No, but you can assume they know Perl, and could customize that way.

For years, these things have been a barrier to people getting the build/install process to do what they want.

There are several architectural decisions in MakeMaker that make it very difficult to customize its behavior. For instance, when using MakeMaker you do "use ExtUtils::MakeMaker", but the object created in "WriteMakefile()" is actually blessed into a package name that's created on the fly, so you can't simply subclass "ExtUtils::MakeMaker". There is a workaround "MY" package that lets you override certain MakeMaker methods, but only certain explicitly preselected (by MakeMaker) methods can be overridden. Also, the method of customization is very crude: you have to modify a string containing the Makefile text for the particular target. Since these strings aren't documented, and can't be documented (they take on different values depending on the platform, version of perl, version of MakeMaker, etc.), you have no guarantee that your modifications will work on someone else's machine or after an upgrade of MakeMaker or perl.
It is risky to make major changes to MakeMaker, since it does so many things, is so important, and generally works. "Module::Build" is an entirely separate package so that I can work on it all I want, without worrying about backward compatibility.
Finally, Perl is said to be a language for system administration. Could it really be the case that Perl isn't up to the task of building and installing software? Even if that software is a bunch of stupid little ".pm" files that just need to be copied from one place to another? My sense was that we could design a system to accomplish this in a flexible, extensible, and friendly manner. Or die trying.

## TO DO

The current method of relying on time stamps to determine whether a derived file is out of date isn't likely to scale well, since it requires tracing all dependencies backward, it runs into problems on NFS, and it's just generally flimsy. It would be better to use an MD5 signature or the like, if available. See "cons" for an example.

 - append to perllocal.pod



## AUTHOR

Ken Williams <[email protected]>

Bug reports are also welcome at <http://rt.cpan.org/NoAuth/Bugs.html?Dist=Module-Build>.

The latest development version is available from the Subversion repository at <https://svn.perl.org/modules/Module-Build/trunk/>

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

perl(1), Module::Build::Cookbook, Module::Build::Authoring, Module::Build::API, ExtUtils::MakeMaker, YAML

META.yml Specification: <http://module-build.sourceforge.net/META-spec-current.html>

## Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
GUIDE TO DOCUMENTATION
ACTIONS
OPTIONS
Command Line Options
Default Options File (.modulebuildrc)
INSTALL PATHS
MOTIVATIONS
TO DO
AUTHOR