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Get a distribution file
Source Files in .tar.gz and .zip format
This document tells how to install perltidy from the basic source
distribution files in .tar.gz or .zip format. These files are
identical except for the line endings. The .tar.gz has Unix style
line endings, and the .zip file has Windows style line endings. The
standard perl MakeMaker method should work for these in most cases.
Source files in RPM and .deb format
The web site also has links to RPM and Debian .deb Linux packages,
which may be convenient for some users.
Quick Test Drive
If you want to do a quick test of perltidy without doing any
installation, get a .tar.gz or a .zip source file and see the section
below "Method 2: Installation as a single binary script".
Uninstall older versions
In certain circumstances, it is best to remove an older version of
perltidy before installing the latest version. These are:
Uninstall a Version older than 20020225
You can use perltidy -v to determine the version number. The first
version of perltidy to use Makefile.PL for installation was
20020225, so if your previous installation is older than this, it is
best to remove it, because the installation path may now be
different. There were up to 3 files these older installations: the
script perltidy and possibly two man pages, perltidy.1 and
perl2web.1. If you saved your Makefile, you can probably use "make
uninstall". Otherwise, you can use a locate or find command to find
and remove these files.
Uninstall older versions when changing installation method
If you switch from one installation method to another, the paths to
the components of perltidy may change, so it is probably best to
remove the older version before installing the new version. If your
older installation method had an uninstall option (such as with
RPM's and debian packages), use it. Otherwise, you can locate and
remove the older files by hand. There are two key files: and
perltidy. In addition, there may be one or two man pages, something
like Perl::Tidy.3pm and perltidy.1p. You can use a "locate" and/or
"find" command to find and remove these files. After installation,
you can verify that the new version of perltidy is working with the
"perltidy -v" command.
Two Installation Methods - Overview
These are generic instructions. Some system-specific notes and hints are
given in later sections.
Two separate installation methods are possible.
Method 1: Standard Installation Method
The standard method based on MakeMaker should work in a normal perl
environment. This is the recommended installation procedure for
systems which support it.
perl Makefile.PL
make test
make install
The "make" command is probably "nmake" under a Windows system. You
may need to become root (or administrator) before doing the "make
install" step.
Method 2: Installation as a single binary script
If you just want to take perltidy for a quick test drive without
installing it, or are having trouble installing modules, you can
bundle it all in one independent executable script. This might also
be helpful on a system for which the Makefile.PL method does not
work, or if you are temporarily a guest on some system, or if you
want to try hacking a special version of perltidy without messing up
your regular version.
You just need to uncompress the source distribution, cd down into
it, and enter the command:
perl pm2pl
which will combine the pieces of perltidy into a single script named
perltidy in the current directory. This script should be fully
functional. Try it out on a handy perl script, for example
perl perltidy Makefile.PL
This should create Makefile.PL.tdy.
After Installation
After installation by either method, verify that the installation
worked and that the correct new version is being by entering:
perltidy -v
If the version number disagrees with the version number embedded in
the distribution file name, search for and remove the old version.
For example, under a Unix system, the command "which perltidy" might
show where it is. Also, see the above notes on uninstalling older
On a Unix system running the "bash" shell, if you had a previous
installation of perltidy, you may have to use
hash -r
to get the shell to find the new one.
After perltidy is installed, you can find where it will look for
configuration files and environment variables on your system with
the command:
perltidy -dpro
How to Uninstall
Unfortunately, the standard Perl installation method does not seem
able to do an uninstall.
But try this:
make uninstall
On some systems, it will give you a list of files to remove by hand.
If not, you need to find the script perltidy and its module file, which will be in a subdirectory named Perl in the site
If you installed perltidy with the alternative method, you should
just reverse the steps that you used.
Unix Installation Notes
Alternative method - Unix
If the alternative method is used, test the script produced by the
"pm2pl" perl script:
perl ./perltidy
where is any convenient test file, such as Makefile.PL
itself. Then,
1. If the script is not executable, use
chmod +x perltidy
2. Verify that the initial line in perltidy works for your system by
./perltidy -h
which should produce the usage text and then exit. This should
usually work, but if it does not, you will need to change the first
line in perltidy to reflect the location of perl on your system. On
a Unix system, you might find the path to perl with the command
'which perl'.
3. A sample Makefile for this installation method is Makefile.npm.
Edit it to have the correct paths.
You will need to become root unless you change the paths to point to
somewhere in your home directory. Then issue the command
make -f Makefile.npm install
This installs perltidy and the man page perltidy.1.
5. Test the installation using
perltidy -h
You should see the usage screen. Then, if you installed the man
pages, try
man perltidy
which should bring up the manual page.
If you ever want to remove perltidy, you can remove perltidy and its
man pages by hand or use
make uninstall
Windows Installation Notes
On a Windows 9x/Me system you should CLOSE ANY OPEN APPLICATIONS to
avoid losing unsaved data in case of trouble.
Standard Method - Windows
After you unzip the distribution file, the procedure is probably
perl Makefile.PL
nmake test
nmake install
You may need to download a copy of unzip to unzip the .zip
distribution file; you can get this at
If you have ActiveState Perl, the installation method is outlined at
You may need to download a copy of Microsoft's nmake program from
If you are not familiar with installing modules, or have trouble
doing so, and want to start testing perltidy quickly, you may want
to use the alternative method instead (next section).
Alternative Method - Windows
From the main installation directory, just enter
perl pm2pl
Placing the resulting file perltidy and the example batch file
perltidy.bat, located in the examples directory, in your path should
work. (You can determine your path by issuing the msdos command
"PATH"). However, the batch file probably will not support file
redirection. So, for example, to pipe the long help message through
'more', you might have to invoke perltidy with perl directly, like
perl \somepath\perltidy -h | more
The batch file will not work properly with wildcard filenames, but
you may use wildcard filenames if you place them in quotes. For
perltidy '*.pl'
VMS Installation Notes
Links to VMS Utilities and Documentation
To install perltidy you will need the following utilities Perl, of
course, source with VMS goodies available from or binary available from the Compaq
OpenVMS freeware CD. To unpack the source either gunzip and vmstar
available from the Compaq OpenVMS freeware CD or zip available from
To build perltidy you can use either MMS, Compaq's VMS equivalent of
make, or MMK, an MMS clone available from
Information on running perl under VMS can be found at:
Unpack the source:
$ unzip -a ! or
$ unzip /text=auto ! or
$ gunzip perl-tidy-yyyymmdd.tgz
$ vmstar perl-tidy-yyyymmdd.tar
Build and install perltidy under VMS:
$ set default [.perl-tidy-yyymmdd]
$ perl
$ mmk
$ mmk test
$ mmk install
Using Perltidy under VMS
Create a symbol. This should be put in a logon script, eg
$ perltidy == "perl perl_root:[utils]perltidy."
Default parameters can be placed in a perltidyrc file. Perltidy
looks for one in the following places and uses the first found if
the logical "PERLTIDY" is a file and the file exists then that is
used if the logical "PERLTIDY" is a directory then look for a
.perltidyrc file in the directory look for a .perltidyrc file in the
user's home directory
To see where the search is done and which .perltidyrc is used type
$ perltidy -dpro
A system "PERLTIDY" logical can be defined pointing to a file with a
minimal configuration, and users can defined their own logical to
use a personal .perltidyrc file.
$ define /system perltidy perl_root:[utils]perltidy.rc
The -x Parameter
If you have one of the magic incantations at the start of perl
scripts, so that they can be invoked as a .com file, then you will
need to use the -x parameter which causes perltidy to skip all lines
until it finds a hash bang line eg "#!perl -w". Since it is such a
common option this is probably a good thing to put in a .perltidyrc
VMS File Extensions
VMS file extensions will use an underscore character instead of a
dot, when necessary, to create a valid filename. So
will generate the output file myfile.pl_tdy instead of, and so on.
Mac Installation Notes
This release contains a patch by Axel Rose to make perltidy work under
MacPerl. The patch is in the 'perltidy' script and prompts the user to
interactively enter command line arguments.
The normal installation process (just dropping the .tgz file on a
distribution-provided "installme" script) should work.
MacPerl users may want to open the "perltidy" script and save it as
droplet. Then just use the drag&drop mechanism to provide the file
Please be sure enclose in quotes any filenames which contain spaces.
This is true for all systems, but worth emphasizing for Mac's, where
this is common.
Troubleshooting / Other Operating Systems
Is your system missing from the notes above, or are you having trouble?
Perltidy is quite portable. The main source of system-dependent
programming, and system problems, has been the external system call to
perl to perform a syntax check. This can be skipped with the -nsyn
perltidy -nsyn filename
This is the first thing to try if perltidy seems to cause a system to
hang in some way. In fact, this has been such a problem with Windows
95/98/Me that the syntax check is deactivated for these systems.
However, perltidy is also fairly slow, and it may be just taking a long
time on a large file, so give it a little time to finish. To illustrate,
on a 1.4 GHz PC the following command takes about 0.4 seconds to
$ time perltidy Makefile.PL
real 0m0.398s
for the small file Makefile.PL supplied with the distribution. On the
very large file (20500 lines, 721k bytes), however, the time
increases to 45 seconds:
$ time perltidy
real 0m45.202s
Another source of system-dependent programming has to do with locating
configuration files. You can see what is going on in the config file
search with:
perltidy -dpro
If you want to customize where perltidy looks for configuration files,
look at the routine 'find_config_file' in module ''. You should
be able to at least use the '-pro=filename' method under most systems.
Remember to place quotes (either single or double) around input
parameters which contain spaces, such as file names. For example:
perltidy "file name with spaces"
Without the quotes, perltidy would look for four files: file, name,
with, and spaces.
If you develop a system-dependent patch that might be of general
interest, please let us know.
You do not need a configuration file, but you may eventually want to
create one to save typing; the tutorial and man page discuss this.
Perltidy needs to create a system temporary file when it invokes
Pod::Html to format pod text under the -html option. For Unix systems,
this will normally be a file in /tmp, and for other systems, it will be
a file in the current working directory named perltidy.TMP. This file
will be removed when the run finishes.
Documentation is contained in .pod format, either in the docs directory
or appended to the scripts.
These documents can also be found at
Reading the brief tutorial should help you use perltidy effectively. The
tutorial can be read interactively with perldoc, for example
cd docs
perldoc tutorial.pod
or else an html version can be made with pod2html:
pod2html tutorial.pod >tutorial.html
If you use the Makefile.PL installation method on a Unix system, the
perltidy and Perl::Tidy man pages should automatically be installed.
Otherwise, you can extract the man pages with the pod2xxxx utilities, as
cd bin
pod2text perltidy >perltidy.txt
pod2html perltidy >perltidy.html
cd lib/Perl
pod2text >Tidy.txt
pod2html >Tidy.html
After installation, the installation directory of files may be deleted.
Perltidy is still being developed, so please check sourceforge
occasionally for updates if you find that it is useful. New releases are
announced on
Thanks to Michael Cartmell for supplying notes on VMS.
Thanks to Axel Rose for supplying notes on MacPerl.
If you see ways to improve these notes, please let us know.
Bug reports, comments and suggestions are welcome. Attach the smallest
piece of code which demonstrates the bug or issue. If appropriate,
attach a .LOG file. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!
Thank You
Steve Hancock
perltidy at