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    Module::Build - Build and install Perl modules

     Standard process for building & installing modules:
       perl Build.PL
       ./Build test
       ./Build install

    This is a beta version of a new module set I've been working on,
    `Module::Build'. It is meant to be a replacement for

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

       perl Build.PL
       ./Build             # this script is created by 'perl Build.PL'
       ./Build test
       ./Build install

    Other actions so far include:

       ./Build clean
       ./Build realclean
       ./Build fakeinstall
       ./Build dist
       ./Build help

    It's like the `MakeMaker' metaphor, except that `Build' is a short Perl
    script, not a long Makefile. State is stored in a directory called

    Any customization can be done simply by subclassing `Module::Build' and
    adding a method called (for example) `ACTION_test', overriding the
    default action. You could also add a method called `ACTION_whatever',
    and then you could perform the action `./Build whatever'.

    More actions will certainly be added to the core - it should be easy to
    do everything that the MakeMaker process can do. It's going to take some
    time, though. In the meantime, I may implement some pass-through
    functionality so that unknown actions are passed to MakeMaker.

    I list here some of the most important methods in the `Module::Build'.
    As the interface is still very unstable, I must ask that for now, you
    read the source to get more information on them. Normally you won't need
    to deal with these methods unless you want to subclass `Module::Build'.
    But since one of the reasons I created this module in the first place
    was so that subclassing is possible (and easy), I will certainly write
    more docs as the interface stabilizes.

    * $m = Module::Build->new(...)
        Creates a new Module::Build object. The `module_name' argument is
        required, and should be a string like `'Your::Module''. The
        `module_version' argument is optional - if not explicitly provided,
        we'll look for the version string in the module specified by
        `module_name', parsing it out according to the same rules as
        `ExtUtils::MakeMaker' and `'.

        An optional `c_source' argument specifies a directory which contains
        C source files that the rest of the build may depend on. Any `.c'
        files in the directory will be compiled to object files. The
        directory will be added to the search path during the compilation
        and linking phases of any C or XS files.

        An optional `autosplit' argument specifies a file which should be
        run through the `Autosplit::autosplit()' function. In general I
        don't consider this a great idea, and I may even go so far as to
        remove this feature later. Let me know if I shouldn't.

    * $m->add_to_cleanup
        A `Module::Build' method may call `$self->add_to_cleanup(@files)' to
        tell `Module::Build' that certain files should be removed when the
        user performs the `Build clean' action. I decided to make this a
        dynamic method, rather than a static list of files, because these
        static lists can get difficult to manage. I preferred to keep the
        responsibility for registering temporary files close to the code
        that creates them.

    * Module::Build->resume
        You'll probably never call this method directly, it's only called
        from the auto-generated `Build' script. The `new()' method is only
        called once, when the user runs `perl Build.PL'. Thereafter, when
        the user runs `Build test' or another action, the `Module::Build'
        object is created using the `resume()' method.

    * $m->dispatch
        This method is also called from the auto-generated `Build' script.
        It parses the command-line arguments into an action and an argument
        list, then calls the appropriate routine to handle the action.
        Currently (though this may change), an action `foo' will invoke the
        `ACTION_foo' method. All arguments (including everything mentioned
        in the ACTIONS manpage below) are contained in the `$self->{args}'
        hash reference.

    * $m->os_type
        If you're subclassing Module::Build and some code needs to alter its
        behavior based on the current platform, you may only need to know
        whether you're running on Windows, Unix, MacOS, VMS, etc. and not
        the fine-grained value of Perl's `$^O' variable. The `os_type()'
        method will return a string like `Windows', `Unix', `MacOS', `VMS',
        or whatever is appropriate. If you're running on an unknown
        platform, it will return `undef' - there shouldn't be many unknown
        platforms though.

    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.

    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 sitelib=/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. The build process also relies heavily on the `'
    module, and all the key=value pairs in `' are merged into the
    mix too. The precedence of parameters is, from highest to lowest:
    per-action parameters, `Build.PL' parameters, and `'

    The following build actions are provided by default.

    * build
        This is analogous to the MakeMaker 'make' target with no arguments.
        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
        (preferably the same one that built perl itself) for this to work

        Note that in contrast to MakeMaker, this module only (currently)
        handles `.pm', `.pod', and `.xs' files. They must all be in the
        `lib/' directory, in the directory structure that they should have
        when installed.

        If you run the `Build' script without any arguments, it runs the
        `build' action.

        In future releases of `Module::Build' the `build' action should be
        able to process `.PL' files. The `.xs' support is currently in
        alpha. Please let me know if it works for you.

    * test
        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 `' 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

        In addition, if a file called `' 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

    * clean
        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).

    * realclean
        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.

    * install
        This action will use `ExtUtils::Install' to install the files from
        `blib/' into the correct system-wide module directory. The directory
        is determined from the `sitelib' entry in the `' module. To
        install into a different directory, pass a different value for the
        `sitelib' parameter, like so:

         Build install sitelib=/my/secret/place/

        Alternatively, you could specify the `sitelib' parameter when you
        run the `Build.PL' script:

         perl Build.PL sitelib=/my/secret/place/

        Under normal circumstances, you'll need superuser privileges to
        install into the default `sitelib' directory.

    * fakeinstall
        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.

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

    * manifest
        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.

        (Note to self: it would be nice to have a 'fake_manifest' action
        that would just go through the motions of adding to MANIFEST but not
        actually do anything. Currently ExtUtils::Manifest doesn't support
        it, though.)

    * help
        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.

    One advantage of Module::Build is that since it's implemented as Perl
    methods, you can invoke these methods directly if you want to install a
    module non-interactively. For instance, the following Perl script will
    invoke the entire build/install procedure:

     my $m = new Module::Build (module_name => 'MyModule');

    If any of these steps encounters an error, it will throw a fatal

    You can also pass arguments as part of the build process:

     my $m = new Module::Build (module_name => 'MyModule');
     $m->dispatch('test', verbose => 1);
     $m->dispatch('install', sitelib => '/my/secret/place/');

    Building and installing modules in this way skips creating the `Build'

    Module::Build creates a class hierarchy conducive to customization. Here
    is the parent-child class hierarchy in classy ASCII art:

       |   Your::Parent     |  (If you subclass Module::Build)
       /--------------------\  (Doesn't define any functionality
       |   Module::Build    |   of its own - just figures out what
       \--------------------/   other modules to load.)
       /-----------------------------------\  (Some values of $^O may
       |   Module::Build::Platform::$^O    |   define specialized functionality.
       \-----------------------------------/   Otherwise it's ...::Default, a
                |                              pass-through class.)
       |   Module::Build::Base    |  (Most of the functionality of 
       \--------------------------/   Module::Build is defined here.)

    Right now, if you want to subclass Module::Build you must do so by
    including an actual .pm file somewhere in your distribution. There will
    be much better ways to do this in the future. Can't do everything at

    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 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
        predefined (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.

    *   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 seperate 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? Absolutely not - see the `Cons'
        package for one example, at the section on "/" in
        the http: manpage .

    Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas.

    Need to implement a prerequisite mechanism, similar to MakeMaker's
    `PREREQ_PM' stuff.

    There will also be a subclassing mechanism that doesn't require as much
    module infrastructure to use. Something like this:

     use Module::Build subclass => <<'EOF';
      sub ACTION_foo {
        ... implement the 'foo' action ...

    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.

    The current dependency-checking for .xs files is prone to errors. You
    can make 'widowed' files by doing `Build', `perl Build.PL', and then
    `Build realclean'. Should be easy to fix, but it's got me wondering
    whether the dynamic declaration of dependencies is a good idea.

    Ken Williams,

    perl(1), ExtUtils::MakeMaker(3)

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