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    only - Load specific module versions; Install many

        # Install version 0.30 of MyModule
        cd MyModule-0.30
        perl Makefile.PL
        make test
        perl -Monly=install    # substitute for 'make install' 
        perl -Monly=install - version=0.33 versionlib=/home/ingy/perlmods
        # Only use MyModule version 0.30
        use only MyModule => 0.30;

        # Only use MyModule if version is between 0.30 and 0.50
        # but not 0.36; or if version is >= to 0.55.
        use only MyModule => '0.30-0.50 !0.36 0.55-', qw(:all);

        # Don't export anything!
        use only MyModule => 0.30, [];

        # Version dependent arguments
        use only MyModule =>
            [ '0.20-0.27', qw(f1 f2 f3 f4) ],
            [ '0.30-',     qw(:all) ];

        # Override versionlib
        use only {versionlib => '/home/ingy/perlmods'},
            MyModule => 0.33;
        # Override versionlib globally
        use only {versionlib => '/home/ingy/perlmods'};
        use only MyModule => 0.33;

        # Object Oriented Interface
        use only;
        $only = only->new;
        require MyModule;
        # Note: <angle brackets> mean "optional".

        # To load a specific module
        use only MODULE => 'CONDITION SPEC' <, ARGUMENTS>;

        # To set options
        use only < { OPTIONS HASH } >, MODULE => 'CONDITION SPEC';

        # To set options globally
        use only < { OPTIONS HASH } >;

        # For multiple argument sets
        use only MODULE => 
            ['CONDITION SPEC 1' <, ARGUMENTS1>],
            ['CONDITION SPEC 2' <, ARGUMENTS2>],

        # To install an alternate version of a module
        perl -Monly=install <- ARGUMENTS>        # instead of 'make install'

    The "" facility allows you to load a MODULE only if it satisfies
    a given CONDITION. Normally that condition is a version. If you just
    specify a single version, 'only' will only load the module matching that
    version. If you specify multiple versions, the module can be any of
    those versions. See below for all the different conditions you can use
    with "only".

    "" will also allow you to load a particular version of a module,
    when many versions of the same module are installed. See below for
    instructions on how to easily install many different versions of the
    same module.

    A condition specification is a single string containing a list of zero
    or more conditions. The list of conditions is separated by spaces. Each
    condition can take one of the following forms:

    * plain version
        This is the most basic form. The loaded module must match this
        version string or be loaded from a version directory that uses the
        version string. Mulitiple versions means one or the other.

            use only MyModule => '0.11';
            use only MyModule => '0.11 0.15';

    * version range
        This is two single versions separated by a dash. The end points are
        inclusive in the range. If either end of the range is ommitted, then
        the range is open ended on that side.

            use only MyModule => '0.11-0.12';
            use only MyModule => '0.13-';
            use only MyModule => '-0.10';
            use only MyModule => '-';       # Means any version

        Note that a completely open range (any version) is not the same as
        just saying:

            use MyModule;

        because the "only" module will search all the various version libs
        before searhing in the regular @INC paths.

        Also note that an empty string or no string means the same thing as

            # All of these mean "use any version"
            use only MyModule => '-';
            use only MyModule => '';
            use only 'MyModule';

    * complement version or range
        Any version or range beginning with a '!' is considered to mean the
        inverse of that specification. A complement takes precedence over
        all other specifications. If a module version matches a complement,
        that version is immediately rejected without further inspection.

            use only MyModule => '!0.31';
            use only MyModule => '0.30-0.40 !0.31-0.33';

    The search works by searching the version-lib directories (found in
    "only::config") for a module that meets the condition specification. If
    more than one version is found, the highest version is used. If no
    module meets the specification, then a normal @INC style "require" is

    If the condition is a subroutine reference, that subroutine will be
    called and passed an "only" object. If the subroutine returns a false
    value, the program will die. See below for a list of public methods that
    may be used upon the "only" object.

    All of the arguments following the CONDITION specification, will be
    passed to the module being loaded.

    Normally you can pass an empty list to "use" to turn off Exporting. To
    do this with "only", use an empty array ref.

        use only MyModule => '0.30';       # Default exporting
        use only MyModule => '0.30', [];   # No exporting
        use only MyModule => '0.30', qw(export list);  # Specific export

    If you need pass different arguments depending on which version is used,
    simply wrap each condition spec and arguments with an array ref.

        use only MyModule =>
            [ '0.20-0.27', qw(f1 f2 f3 f4) ],
            [ '0.30-',     qw(:all) ];

    Options to "only" are specified as a hash reference placed before the
    module name. If there is no module name, the options become global, and
    affect all other calls to only (even ones from other modules, so be

    Currently, the only option is "versionlib".

    Sometimes you need to tell "only" to use a specific version library to
    load from. Use the "versionlib" option to do this.

        use only { versionlib => '/home/ingy/modules' },
            MyModule => 0.33;

    The "" module also has a facility for installing more than one
    version of a particular module. Using this facility you can install an
    older version of a module and use it with the 'use only' syntax.

    It works like this; when installing a module, do the familiar:

        perl Makefile.PL
        make test

    But instead of "make install", do this:

        perl -Monly=install

    This will attempt to determine what version the module should be
    installed under. In some cases you may need to specify the version
    yourself. Do the following:

        perl -Monly=install - version=0.55

    By default, everything will be installed in versionlib directory stored
    in "only::config". To override the installation location, do this:

        perl -Monly=install - versionlib=/home/ingy/modules

    NOTE: Also works with "Module::Build" style modules.

    NOTE: The "perl" you use for this must be the same "perl" as the one
    used to do "perl Makefile.PL" or "perl Build.PL". While this seems
    obvious, you may run into problems with "sudo perl -Monly=install",
    since the "root" account may have a different "perl" in its path. If
    this happens, just use the full path to your "perl".

  Installing with Module::Build
    When installing modules distributed with Module::Build, you can use the
    following commands to install into version specific libraries:

        perl Build.PL
        ./Build versioninstall
    For overrides:

        perl Build.PL version=1.23 versionlib=/home/ingy/modules
        ./Build versioninstall

    NOTE: The Module::Build verion install does not suffer from the same
    "sudo" problem outlined above. Module::Build remembers the original perl

    When you install the "only" module, you can tell it where to install
    alternate versions of modules. These paths get stored into
    "only::config". The default location to install things is parallel to
    your sitelib. For instance if your sitelib was:


    "only" would default to:


    This keeps your normal install trees free from any potential
    complication with version modules.

    If you install version 0.24 and 0.26 of MyModule and version 0.26 of
    Your::Module, they will end up here:


    "" is kind of like "" on Koolaid! Instead of adding a
    search path to @INC, it adds a search object to @INC. This object is
    actually the "" object itself. The object keeps track of all of
    the modules related to a given module distribution installation, and
    takes responsibility for loading those modules. This is very important
    because if you say:

        use only Goodness => '0.23';

    and then later:

        require Goodness::Gracious;

    you want to be sure that the correct version of the second module gets
    loaded. Especially when another module is doing the loading.

    "only" is implemented internally using Object Oriented Programming. You
    yourself can also make use of "only" objects directly in your program.
    Instead of saying something like this:

        use only MyModule => '0.30', qw(foo bar);

    You could say:

        my $only;
        BEGIN {
            $only = only->new;
        use MyModule qw(foo bar);

    The cool thing here is that we just used a normal "use" statement to
    load a particular module.

    This gives you more control and you may be able to do some interesting
    stuff this way.

    The following sections detail the Object Oriented API.

  Class Methods
    There are three class methods available:

    * new
        This simply constucts a new "only" object. It takes no arguments.

            my $only = only->new;

    * versionlib
        When call as a class method, "versionlib" sets the global default
        versionlib for all future "only" processing. This takes one


    * fix_INC
        There is a bug in Perl 5.6.1 that sometimes leaves an incorrect
        value in %INC after loading a module from an "only" object. If you
        call this method after a "use" or "require" the values will be

  Object Methods
    All of the following methods return themselves when used as
    store-accessors. This lets you chain calls together:


    When used as fetch-accessors they, of course, return their values.

    * module
        You pass this method the name of any one module from a particular
        installed module distribution. The object becomes responsible for
        loading any and all modules associated with the one you specified.


    * condition
        Sets the version condition specification.


    * versionlib
        When called as an object method, "versionlib" sets the versionlib
        that will be used by this object.


    * include
        This simply puts the object at the front of @INC. It also makes sure
        that no other references to the same object are in @INC.


        Remember that your object will only have an effect on the Perl's
        "require" process, if it is in @INC.

    * remove
        This method removes any references to the object from @INC.


    * search
        You won't normally need to call this method yourself. Search
        determines whether a matching copy of the module exists for the
        current values of "module", "condition" and "versionlib". It doesn't
        actually load anything though.

            if ($only->search) {

        "search" is called automatically when a "use" or "require" hits your

    * distribution_version
        After a successful "search" (or "use" or "require"), this method
        will return the version that was found.

            my $version = $only->distribution_version;

    The "" module loads a module by the following process:

     1) Look for the highest suitable version of the module in the version
        libraries specified in only::config.
     2) Do a normal require() of the module, and check to make sure the 
        version is in the range specified.

    It is important to understand that the versions used in these two
    different steps come from different places and might not be the same.

    In the first step the version used is the version of the "distribution"
    that the module was installed from. This is grepped out of the Makefile
    and saved as metadata for that module.

    In the second step, the version is taken from $VERSION of that module.
    This is the same process used when you do something like:

         use MyModule '0.50';

    Unfortunately, there is no way to know what the distribution version is
    for a normally installed module.

    Fortunately, $VERSION is usually the same as the distribution version.
    That's because the popular "VERSION_FROM" Makefile.PL option makes it
    happen. Authors are encouraged to use this option.

    The conclusion here is that "" usually gets things right. Always
    check %INC, if you suspect that the wrong versions are being pulled in.
    If this happens, use more 'use only' statements to pull in the right

    One failsafe solution is to make sure that all module versions in
    question are installed into the version libraries.

    You can't do that! Are you crazy? Well I am. I can't do this yet but I'd
    really like to. I'm working on it. If you have ideas on how this might
    be accomplished, send me an email. If you don't have a good idea, send
    me some coffee.

    *   This module only works with Perl 5.6.1 and higher. That's because
        earlier versions of Perl don't support putting objects in @INC.

    *   There is currently no way to install documentation for multiple
        modules. It wouldn't make much sense anyway, because "perldoc"
        wouldn't have support for reading the doc.

    *   You can't use "only" to load a specific version of "only" itself,
        because the default version gets loaded before it can do any

        If you had both versions 1.23 and 3.21 installed:

            use only only => '1.23';

        would load up 3.21 and then fail because it wasn't 1.23.

    Brian Ingerson <>

    Copyright (c) 2003. Brian Ingerson. All rights reserved.

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


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