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    Perl::Critic - Critique Perl source code for best-practices.

      use Perl::Critic;
      my $file = shift;
      my $critic = Perl::Critic->new();
      my @violations = $critic->critique($file);
      print @violations;

    Perl::Critic is an extensible framework for creating and applying coding
    standards to Perl source code. Essentially, it is a static source code
    analysis engine. Perl::Critic is distributed with a number of
    Perl::Critic::Policy modules that attempt to enforce various coding
    guidelines. Most Policy modules are based on Damian Conway's book Perl
    Best Practices. However, Perl::Critic is not limited to PBP and will
    even support Policies that contradict Conway. You can enable, disable,
    and customize those Polices through the Perl::Critic interface. You can
    also create new Policy modules that suit your own tastes.

    For a command-line interface to Perl::Critic, see the documentation for
    perlcritic. If you want to integrate Perl::Critic with your build
    process, Test::Perl::Critic provides an interface that is suitable for
    test scripts. Also, Test::Perl::Critic::Progressive is useful for
    gradually applying coding standards to legacy code. For the ultimate
    convenience (at the expense of some flexibility) see the criticism

    Win32 and ActivePerl users can find PPM distributions of Perl::Critic at

    If you'd like to try Perl::Critic without installing anything, there is
    a web-service available at <>. The web-service does
    not yet support all the configuration features that are available in the
    native Perl::Critic API, but it should give you a good idea of what it
    does. You can also invoke the perlcritic web-service from the
    command-line by doing an HTTP-post, such as one of these:

       $> POST <
       $> lwp-request -m POST <
       $> wget -q -O -

    Please note that the perlcritic web-service is still alpha code. The URL
    and interface to the service are subject to change.

    "new( [ -profile => $FILE, -severity => $N, -theme => $string, -include
    => \@PATTERNS, -exclude => \@PATTERNS, -top => $N, -only => $B,
    -profile-strictness => $PROFILE_STRICTNESS_{WARN|FATAL|QUIET}, -force =>
    $B, -verbose => $N ], -color => $B, -criticism-fatal => $B)"
    "new( -config => Perl::Critic::Config->new() )"
        Returns a reference to a new Perl::Critic object. Most arguments are
        just passed directly into Perl::Critic::Config, but I have described
        them here as well. The default value for all arguments can be
        defined in your .perlcriticrc file. See the "CONFIGURATION" section
        for more information about that. All arguments are optional
        key-value pairs as follows:

        -profile is a path to a configuration file. If $FILE is not defined,
        Perl::Critic::Config attempts to find a .perlcriticrc configuration
        file in the current directory, and then in your home directory.
        Alternatively, you can set the "PERLCRITIC" environment variable to
        point to a file in another location. If a configuration file can't
        be found, or if $FILE is an empty string, then all Policies will be
        loaded with their default configuration. See "CONFIGURATION" for
        more information.

        -severity is the minimum severity level. Only Policy modules that
        have a severity greater than $N will be applied. Severity values are
        integers ranging from 1 (least severe) to 5 (most severe). The
        default is 5. For a given "-profile", decreasing the "-severity"
        will usually reveal more Policy violations. You can set the default
        value for this option in your .perlcriticrc file. Users can redefine
        the severity level for any Policy in their .perlcriticrc file. See
        "CONFIGURATION" for more information.

        If it is difficult for you to remember whether severity "5" is the
        most or least restrictive level, then you can use one of these named

            SEVERITY NAME equivalent to...   SEVERITY NUMBER
            -severity => 'gentle'                     -severity => 5
            -severity => 'stern'                      -severity => 4
            -severity => 'harsh'                      -severity => 3
            -severity => 'cruel'                      -severity => 2
            -severity => 'brutal'                     -severity => 1

        -theme is special expression that determines which Policies to apply
        based on their respective themes. For example, the following would
        load only Policies that have a 'bugs' AND 'pbp' theme:

          my $critic = Perl::Critic->new( -theme => 'bugs && pbp' );

        Unless the "-severity" option is explicitly given, setting "-theme"
        silently causes the "-severity" to be set to 1. You can set the
        default value for this option in your .perlcriticrc file. See the
        "POLICY THEMES" section for more information about themes.

        -include is a reference to a list of string @PATTERNS. Policy
        modules that match at least one "m/$PATTERN/imx" will always be
        loaded, irrespective of all other settings. For example:

          my $critic = Perl::Critic->new(-include => ['layout'] -severity => 4);

        This would cause Perl::Critic to apply all the "CodeLayout::*"
        Policy modules even though they have a severity level that is less
        than 4. You can set the default value for this option in your
        .perlcriticrc file. You can also use "-include" in conjunction with
        the "-exclude" option. Note that "-exclude" takes precedence over
        "-include" when a Policy matches both patterns.

        -exclude is a reference to a list of string @PATTERNS. Policy
        modules that match at least one "m/$PATTERN/imx" will not be loaded,
        irrespective of all other settings. For example:

          my $critic = Perl::Critic->new(-exclude => ['strict'] -severity => 1);

        This would cause Perl::Critic to not apply the "RequireUseStrict"
        and "ProhibitNoStrict" Policy modules even though they have a
        severity level that is greater than 1. You can set the default value
        for this option in your .perlcriticrc file. You can also use
        "-exclude" in conjunction with the "-include" option. Note that
        "-exclude" takes precedence over "-include" when a Policy matches
        both patterns.

        -single-policy is a string "PATTERN". Only one policy that matches
        "m/$PATTERN/imx" will be used. Policies that do not match will be
        excluded. This option has precedence over the "-severity", "-theme",
        "-include", "-exclude", and "-only" options. You can set the default
        value for this option in your .perlcriticrc file.

        -top is the maximum number of Violations to return when ranked by
        their severity levels. This must be a positive integer. Violations
        are still returned in the order that they occur within the file.
        Unless the "-severity" option is explicitly given, setting "-top"
        silently causes the "-severity" to be set to 1. You can set the
        default value for this option in your .perlcriticrc file.

        -only is a boolean value. If set to a true value, Perl::Critic will
        only choose from Policies that are mentioned in the user's profile.
        If set to a false value (which is the default), then Perl::Critic
        chooses from all the Policies that it finds at your site. You can
        set the default value for this option in your .perlcriticrc file.

        -profile-strictness is an enumerated value, one of
        "$PROFILE_STRICTNESS_WARN" in Perl::Critic::Utils::Constants (the
        default), "$PROFILE_STRICTNESS_FATAL" in
        Perl::Critic::Utils::Constants, and "$PROFILE_STRICTNESS_QUIET" in
        Perl::Critic::Utils::Constants. If set to
        "$PROFILE_STRICTNESS_FATAL" in Perl::Critic::Utils::Constants,
        Perl::Critic will make certain warnings about problems found in a
        .perlcriticrc or file specified via the -profile option fatal. For
        example, Perl::Critic normally only "warn"s about profiles referring
        to non-existent Policies, but this value makes this situation fatal.
        Correspondingly, "$PROFILE_STRICTNESS_QUIET" in
        Perl::Critic::Utils::Constants makes Perl::Critic shut up about
        these things.

        -force is a boolean value that controls whether Perl::Critic
        observes the magical "## no critic" pseudo-pragmas in your code. If
        set to a true value, Perl::Critic will analyze all code. If set to a
        false value (which is the default) Perl::Critic will ignore code
        that is tagged with these comments. See "BENDING THE RULES" for more
        information. You can set the default value for this option in your
        .perlcriticrc file.

        -verbose can be a positive integer (from 1 to 11), or a literal
        format specification. See Perl::Critic::Violation for an explanation
        of format specifications. You can set the default value for this
        option in your .perlcriticrc file.

        -color is not used by Perl::Critic but is provided for the benefit
        of perlcritic.

        -criticism-fatal is not used by Perl::Critic but is provided for the
        benefit of criticism.

        -config is a reference to a Perl::Critic::Config object. If you have
        created your own Config object for some reason, you can pass it in
        here instead of having Perl::Critic create one for you. Using the
        "-config" option causes all the other options to be silently

    "critique( $source_code )"
        Runs the $source_code through the Perl::Critic engine using all the
        Policies that have been loaded into this engine. If $source_code is
        a scalar reference, then it is treated as a string of actual Perl
        code. If $source_code is a reference to an instance of
        PPI::Document, then that instance is used directly. Otherwise, it is
        treated as a path to a local file containing Perl code. This method
        returns a list of Perl::Critic::Violation objects for each violation
        of the loaded Policies. The list is sorted in the order that the
        Violations appear in the code. If there are no violations, this
        method returns an empty list.

    "add_policy( -policy => $policy_name, -params => \%param_hash )"
        Creates a Policy object and loads it into this Critic. If the object
        cannot be instantiated, it will throw a fatal exception. Otherwise,
        it returns a reference to this Critic.

        -policy is the name of a Perl::Critic::Policy subclass module. The
        'Perl::Critic::Policy' portion of the name can be omitted for
        brevity. This argument is required.

        -params is an optional reference to a hash of Policy parameters. The
        contents of this hash reference will be passed into to the
        constructor of the Policy module. See the documentation in the
        relevant Policy module for a description of the arguments it

    " policies() "
        Returns a list containing references to all the Policy objects that
        have been loaded into this engine. Objects will be in the order that
        they were loaded.

    " config() "
        Returns the Perl::Critic::Config object that was created for or
        given to this Critic.

    " statistics() "
        Returns the Perl::Critic::Statistics object that was created for
        this Critic. The Statistics object accumulates data for all files
        that are analyzed by this Critic.

    For those folks who prefer to have a functional interface, The
    "critique" method can be exported on request and called as a static
    function. If the first argument is a hashref, its contents are used to
    construct a new Perl::Critic object internally. The keys of that hash
    should be the same as those supported by the "Perl::Critic::new" method.
    Here are some examples:

      use Perl::Critic qw(critique);

      # Use default parameters...
      @violations = critique( $some_file );

      # Use custom parameters...
      @violations = critique( {-severity => 2}, $some_file );

      # As a one-liner
      %> perl -MPerl::Critic=critique -e 'print critique(shift)'

    None of the other object-methods are currently supported as static
    functions. Sorry.

    Most of the settings for Perl::Critic and each of the Policy modules can
    be controlled by a configuration file. The default configuration file is
    called .perlcriticrc. Perl::Critic will look for this file in the
    current directory first, and then in your home directory. Alternatively,
    you can set the "PERLCRITIC" environment variable to explicitly point to
    a different file in another location. If none of these files exist, and
    the "-profile" option is not given to the constructor, then all the
    modules that are found in the Perl::Critic::Policy namespace will be
    loaded with their default configuration.

    The format of the configuration file is a series of INI-style blocks
    that contain key-value pairs separated by '='. Comments should start
    with '#' and can be placed on a separate line or after the name-value
    pairs if you desire.

    Default settings for Perl::Critic itself can be set before the first
    named block. For example, putting any or all of these at the top of your
    configuration file will set the default value for the corresponding
    constructor argument.

        severity  = 3                                     #Integer or named level
        only      = 1                                     #Zero or One
        force     = 0                                     #Zero or One
        verbose   = 4                                     #Integer or format spec
        top       = 50                                    #A positive integer
        theme     = (pbp || security) && bugs             #A theme expression
        include   = NamingConventions ClassHierarchies    #Space-delimited list
        exclude   = Variables  Modules::RequirePackage    #Space-delimited list
        criticism-fatal = 1                               #Zero or One
        color     = 1                                     #Zero or One

    The remainder of the configuration file is a series of blocks like this:

        severity = 1
        set_themes = foo bar
        add_themes = baz
        maximum_violations_per_document = 57
        arg1 = value1
        arg2 = value2

    "Perl::Critic::Policy::Category::PolicyName" is the full name of a
    module that implements the policy. The Policy modules distributed with
    Perl::Critic have been grouped into categories according to the table of
    contents in Damian Conway's book Perl Best Practices. For brevity, you
    can omit the 'Perl::Critic::Policy' part of the module name.

    "severity" is the level of importance you wish to assign to the Policy.
    All Policy modules are defined with a default severity value ranging
    from 1 (least severe) to 5 (most severe). However, you may disagree with
    the default severity and choose to give it a higher or lower severity,
    based on your own coding philosophy. You can set the "severity" to an
    integer from 1 to 5, or use one of the equivalent names:

        SEVERITY NAME equivalent to... SEVERITY NUMBER
        gentle                                             5
        stern                                              4
        harsh                                              3
        cruel                                              2
        brutal                                             1

    "set_themes" sets the theme for the Policy and overrides its default
    theme. The argument is a string of one or more whitespace-delimited
    alphanumeric words. Themes are case-insensitive. See "POLICY THEMES" for
    more information.

    "add_themes" appends to the default themes for this Policy. The argument
    is a string of one or more whitespace-delimited words. Themes are
    case-insensitive. See "POLICY THEMES" for more information.

    "maximum_violations_per_document" limits the number of Violations the
    Policy will return for a given document. Some Policies have a default
    limit; see the documentation for the individual Policies to see whether
    there is one. To force a Policy to not have a limit, specify "no_limit"
    or the empty string for the value of this parameter.

    The remaining key-value pairs are configuration parameters that will be
    passed into the constructor for that Policy. The constructors for most
    Policy objects do not support arguments, and those that do should have
    reasonable defaults. See the documentation on the appropriate Policy
    module for more details.

    Instead of redefining the severity for a given Policy, you can
    completely disable a Policy by prepending a '-' to the name of the
    module in your configuration file. In this manner, the Policy will never
    be loaded, regardless of the "-severity" given to the Perl::Critic

    A simple configuration might look like this:

        # I think these are really important, so always load them

        severity = 5

        severity = 5

        # I think these are less important, so only load when asked

        severity = 2

        allow = if unless  # My custom configuration
        severity = cruel   # Same as "severity = 2"

        # Give these policies a custom theme.  I can activate just
        # these policies by saying `perlcritic -theme larry`

        add_themes = larry

        add_themes = larry curly moe

        # I do not agree with these at all, so never load them


        # For all other Policies, I accept the default severity,
        # so no additional configuration is required for them.

    For additional configuration examples, see the perlcriticrc file that is
    included in this examples directory of this distribution.

    Damian Conway's own Perl::Critic configuration is also included in this
    distribution as examples/perlcriticrc-conway.

    A large number of Policy modules are distributed with Perl::Critic. They
    are described briefly in the companion document
    Perl::Critic::PolicySummary and in more detail in the individual modules
    themselves. Say ""perlcritic -doc PATTERN"" to see the perldoc for all
    Policy modules that match the regex "m/PATTERN/imx"

    There are a number of distributions of additional policies on CPAN. If
    Perl::Critic doesn't contain a policy that you want, some one may have
    already written it. See the "SEE ALSO" section below for a list of some
    of these distributions.

    Each Policy is defined with one or more "themes". Themes can be used to
    create arbitrary groups of Policies. They are intended to provide an
    alternative mechanism for selecting your preferred set of Policies. For
    example, you may wish disable a certain subset of Policies when
    analyzing test scripts. Conversely, you may wish to enable only a
    specific subset of Policies when analyzing modules.

    The Policies that ship with Perl::Critic are have been broken into the
    following themes. This is just our attempt to provide some basic logical
    groupings. You are free to invent new themes that suit your needs.

        THEME             DESCRIPTION
        core              All policies that ship with Perl::Critic
        pbp               Policies that come directly from "Perl Best Practices"
        bugs              Policies that that prevent or reveal bugs
        maintenance       Policies that affect the long-term health of the code
        cosmetic          Policies that only have a superficial effect
        complexity        Policies that specificaly relate to code complexity
        security          Policies that relate to security issues
        tests             Policies that are specific to test scripts

    Any Policy may fit into multiple themes. Say "perlcritic -list" to get a
    listing of all available Policies and the themes that are associated
    with each one. You can also change the theme for any Policy in your
    .perlcriticrc file. See the "CONFIGURATION" section for more information
    about that.

    Using the "-theme" option, you can create an arbitrarily complex rule
    that determines which Policies will be loaded. Precedence is the same as
    regular Perl code, and you can use parentheses to enforce precedence as
    well. Supported operators are:

       Operator    Altertative    Example
       &&          and            'pbp && core'
       ||          or             'pbp || (bugs && security)'
       !           not            'pbp && ! (portability || complexity)'

    Theme names are case-insensitive. If the "-theme" is set to an empty
    string, then it evaluates as true all Policies.

    Perl::Critic takes a hard-line approach to your code: either you comply
    or you don't. In the real world, it is not always practical (nor even
    possible) to fully comply with coding standards. In such cases, it is
    wise to show that you are knowingly violating the standards and that you
    have a Damn Good Reason (DGR) for doing so.

    To help with those situations, you can direct Perl::Critic to ignore
    certain lines or blocks of code by using pseudo-pragmas:

        require '';  ## no critic
        require '';  ## no critic

        for my $element (@list) {

            ## no critic

            $foo = "";               #Violates 'ProhibitEmptyQuotes'
            $barf = bar() if $foo;   #Violates 'ProhibitPostfixControls'
            #Some more evil code...

            ## use critic

            #Some good code...

    The "## no critic" comments direct Perl::Critic to ignore the remaining
    lines of code until the end of the current block, or until a ""## use
    critic"" comment is found (whichever comes first). If the "## no critic"
    comment is on the same line as a code statement, then only that line of
    code is overlooked. To direct perlcritic to ignore the "## no critic"
    comments, use the "-force" option.

    A bare "## no critic" comment disables all the active Policies. If you
    wish to disable only specific Policies, add a list of Policy names as
    arguments, just as you would for the "no strict" or "no warnings"
    pragmas. For example, this would disable the "ProhibitEmptyQuotes" and
    "ProhibitPostfixControls" policies until the end of the block or until
    the next "## use critic" comment (whichever comes first):

      ## no critic (EmptyQuotes, PostfixControls)

      # Now exempt from ValuesAndExpressions::ProhibitEmptyQuotes
      $foo = "";

      # Now exempt ControlStructures::ProhibitPostfixControls
      $barf = bar() if $foo;

      # Still subjected to ValuesAndExpression::RequireNumberSeparators
      $long_int = 10000000000;

    Since the Policy names are matched against the "## no critic" arguments
    as regular expressions, you can abbreviate the Policy names or disable
    an entire family of Policies in one shot like this:

      ## no critic (NamingConventions)

      # Now exempt from NamingConventions::ProhibitMixedCaseVars
      my $camelHumpVar = 'foo';

      # Now exempt from NamingConventions::ProhibitMixedCaseSubs
      sub camelHumpSub {}

    The argument list must be enclosed in parentheses and must contain one
    or more comma-separated barewords (e.g. don't use quotes). The "## no
    critic" pragmas can be nested, and Policies named by an inner pragma
    will be disabled along with those already disabled an outer pragma.

    Some Policies like "Subroutines::ProhibitExcessComplexity" apply to an
    entire block of code. In those cases, "## no critic" must appear on the
    line where the violation is reported. For example:

      sub complicated_function {  ## no critic (ProhibitExcessComplexity)
          # Your code here...

    Policies such as "Documentation::RequirePodSections" apply to the entire
    document, in which case violations are reported at line 1. But if the
    file requires a shebang line, it is impossible to put "## no critic" on
    the first line of the file. This is a known limitation and it will be
    addressed in a future release. As a workaround, you can disable the
    affected policies at the command-line or in your .perlcriticrc file. But
    beware that this will affect the analysis of all files.

    Use this feature wisely. "## no critic" should be used in the smallest
    possible scope, or only on individual lines of code. And you should
    always be as specific as possible about which policies you want to
    disable (i.e. never use a bare "## no critic"). If Perl::Critic
    complains about your code, try and find a compliant solution before
    resorting to this feature.

    Coding standards are deeply personal and highly subjective. The goal of
    Perl::Critic is to help you write code that conforms with a set of best
    practices. Our primary goal is not to dictate what those practices are,
    but rather, to implement the practices discovered by others. Ultimately,
    you make the rules -- Perl::Critic is merely a tool for encouraging
    consistency. If there is a policy that you think is important or that we
    have overlooked, we would be very grateful for contributions, or you can
    simply load your own private set of policies into Perl::Critic.

    The modular design of Perl::Critic is intended to facilitate the
    addition of new Policies. You'll need to have some understanding of PPI,
    but most Policy modules are pretty straightforward and only require
    about 20 lines of code. Please see the Perl::Critic::DEVELOPER file
    included in this distribution for a step-by-step demonstration of how to
    create new Policy modules.

    If you develop any new Policy modules, feel free to send them to
    "<>" and I'll be happy to put them into the Perl::Critic
    distribution. Or if you would like to work on the Perl::Critic project
    directly, check out our repository at <>. To
    subscribe to our mailing list, send a message to

    The Perl::Critic team is also available for hire. If your organization
    has its own coding standards, we can create custom Policies to enforce
    your local guidelines. Or if your code base is prone to a particular
    defect pattern, we can design Policies that will help you catch those
    costly defects before they go into production. To discuss your needs
    with the Perl::Critic team, just contact "<>".

    Perl::Critic requires the following modules:

















    The following modules are optional, but recommended for complete










    You are encouraged to subscribe to the mailing list; send a message to
    "<>". See also the archives. You
    can also contact the author at "<>".

    At least one member of the development team has started hanging around
    in <irc://>.

    There are a number of distributions of additional Policies available. A
    few are listed here:







    These distributions enable you to use Perl::Critic in your unit tests:



    There are also a couple of distributions that will install all the
    Perl::Critic related modules known to the development team:



    If you want to make sure you have absolutely everything, you can use



    Scrutinizing Perl code is hard for humans, let alone machines. If you
    find any bugs, particularly false-positives or false-negatives from a
    Perl::Critic::Policy, please submit them to
    <>. Thanks.

    Most policies will produce false-negatives if they cannot understand a
    particular block of code.

    Adam Kennedy - For creating PPI, the heart and soul of Perl::Critic.

    Damian Conway - For writing Perl Best Practices, finally :)

    Chris Dolan - For contributing the best features and Policy modules.

    Andy Lester - Wise sage and master of all-things-testing.

    Elliot Shank - The self-proclaimed quality freak.

    Giuseppe Maxia - For all the great ideas and positive encouragement.

    and Sharon, my wife - For putting up with my all-night code sessions.

    Thanks also to the Perl Foundation for providing a grant to support
    Chris Dolan's project to implement twenty PBP policies.

    Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer <>

    Copyright (c) 2005-2008 Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer. All rights reserved.

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
    under the same terms as Perl itself. The full text of this license can
    be found in the LICENSE file included with this module.

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