podlators

We move from making unnecessary efforts, the exertions of force, to making necessary efforts: the direction of effortlessness. In this the prime maxim is: honor necessity, honor sufficiency.

— Robert Fripp, "The Road to Graceland"

Blurb

podlators contains Pod::Man and Pod::Text modules which convert POD input to *roff source output, suitable for man pages, or plain text. It also includes several subclasses of Pod::Text for formatted output to terminals with various capabilities. It is the source package for the Pod::Man and Pod::Text modules included with Perl.

Description

POD is the Plain Old Documentation format, the documentation language used for all of Perl's documentation. I learned it to document Perl modules, started using it for Perl scripts as well, and discovered it was the most convenient way I've found to write program documentation. It's extremely simple, well-designed for writing Unix manual pages (and I'm a traditionalist who thinks that any program should have a regular manual page), and easily readable in the raw format by humans.

The translators into text and nroff (for manual pages) included in the Perl distribution had various bugs, however, and used their own ad hoc parsers, so when I started running into those bugs and when a new generic parser (Pod::Parser) was written, I decided to rewrite the two translators that I use the most and fix the bugs that were bothering me. This package is the result.

podlators contains two main modules, Pod::Man and Pod::Text. The former converts POD into nroff/troff source and the latter into plain text (with various options controlling some of the formatting). There are also several subclasses of Pod::Text for generating slightly formatted text using color or other terminal control escapes, and a general utility module, Pod::ParseLink, for parsing the POD L<> formatting sequences. Also included in this package are the pod2text and pod2man driver scripts.

Both Pod::Text and Pod::Man provide a variety of options for fine-tuning their output. Pod::Man also tries to massage input text where appropriate to produce better output when run through nroff or troff, such as distinguishing between different types of hyphens and using slightly smaller case for acronyms.

As of Perl 5.6.0, my implementation was included in Perl core, and each release of Perl will have the at-the-time most current version of podlators included. You therefore only need to install this package yourself if you have an old verison of Perl or need a newer version than came with Perl (to get some bug fixes, for example).

Requirements

Perl 5.6.0 or later and Module::Build are required to build this module. Both Pod::Man and Pod::Text are built on Pod::Simple, which handles the basic POD parsing and character set conversion. Pod::Simple 3.06 or later is required (and Pod::Simple 3.07 is recommended). It is available from CPAN and part of Perl core as of 5.10.0. Encode is also required (included in Perl core since 5.8.0).

The troff/nroff generated by Pod::Man should be compatible with any troff or nroff implementation with the -man macro set. It is primarily tested by me under GNU groff, but Perl users send bug reports for a wide variety of implementations and Pod::Man is used to generate all of Perl's own manual pages, so most of the bugs have been weeded out.

The test suite requires Test::More (part of Perl since 5.6.2). The following additional Perl modules will be used by the test suite if present:

All are available on CPAN. Those tests will be skipped if the modules are not available.

Download

The distribution:

podlators 4.09 2016-11-05 tar.gz (PGP signature) tar.xz (PGP signature)

An archive of older releases is also available.

podlators is maintained using the Git version control system. To check out the current development tree, see GitHub or clone:

    https://git.eyrie.org/git/perl/podlators.git

Pull requests on GitHub are welcome. You can also browse the current development source.

Documentation

User documentation:

Developer documentation:

API documentation:

License

The podlators package as a whole is covered by the following copyright and license:

Copyright 1999-2010, 2012-2016 Russ Allbery <rra@cpan.org>

This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself. This means that you may choose between the two licenses that Perl is released under: the GNU GPL and the Artistic License. Please see your Perl distribution for the details and copies of the licenses.

Some individual source files are covered by other, compatible licenses. For complete copyright and license information, see the file LICENSE in the podlators source distribution.

Last modified and spun 2016-11-05