tv - Run 'make TEST_VERBOSE=1' on one or more test files


   $ tv t/foo.t         # make test TEST_VERBOSE=1 TEST_FILES=t/foo.t
   $ tv -d t/foo.t      # similar, but turn on the debugger
   $ tv          # Run all t/*.t test scripts for
   $ tv t/foo.t t/bar.t # make TEST_VERBOSE=1 "TEST_FILES=t/foo.t t/bar.t"
   $ tv t/*             # Run all test scripts in t
   $ tv lib             # Test all modules in lib

   $ tv --pure-perl ... # No make test, use perl -Ilib t/foo.t
   $ tv --perl          # No make test; make pm_to_blib and perl -Iblib/lib...
   $ tv --pod ...       # Test the POD
   $ tv --compile ...   # Compile the source
   $ tv --tests ...     # Run the tests


Given one or more test scripts, Perl source code files, directories containing them, or Perl package names, tv tries to select and run the appropriate test scripts using "make test TEST_VERBOSE=1 TEST_FILES=..." where the "..." are the selected test scripts.

This is especially useful in an editor when mapped to a key that saves and runs tv on the current file or just as shorthand for a frequent but laborious make incantation.

Test scripts

Test scripts are filenames that end in ".t".

Passing tv the names of test scripts selects them and runs them:

    tv t/foo.t


    tv t/*.t

select and run t/foo.t and t/*.t, repsectively.

For parameters that do not end in ".t", tv scans the source code for them and for all test scripts in t/*.t to select the test scripts that apply. There are two other parameter types: source files and Perl package (class) names.

Source Files

If a source file name (or directory hierarchy of them) is given, then those files and all test scripts are scanned, and any test scripts pertaining to the named source files and any packages it defines are selected. This allows

    tv lib/Bar/
    cd lib/Bar; tv

to DWIM (see the upcoming description of how tv finds the main project directory to see how that last one DWIMs).

Source files are also run through podchecker unless the --no-podchecker option is passed. Source files ending in ".pod" are not considered testable except by podchecker.


If a directory name is passed, it is scanned for .t, .pm, .pod, and .pl files and these are treated as though they were mentioned on the command line. This can go goofy if you run it on a test directory that contains .pm file that are used in the test suite--a private copy of Test::Differences, perhaps--that you don't want to test. This is a bug that should be fixed.


If a package name is given, then all source files and test scripts mentioned are scanned as well as all source files in the main project directory and its lib/ and t/ subdirectories are scanned, then any test scripts pertaining to the named packages are selected. This allows

    tv Foo

to work.

Untestable items

It is a fatal error if a named item cannot be tested. In this case, nothing is tested and tv prints a messages to STDERR and exits with a non-zero exit code.

Finding the main project directory

The main project directory is found by looking for "./t", "../t", "../../t" and so on until a directory containing a "t" directory is found.

The .tvrc file (EXPERIMENTAL)

If a .tvrc file is found in a project's root directory, it is run just before any tests. This allows you to set important env. vars:


The trailing "1;" is to ensure that this file returns a TRUE (in the sense of Perl truth) value, otherwise a fatar error will be reported.

Don't mess with Test-Verbose internals in this file, otherwise you may run any Perl code you like here. If you ship a .tvrc file in your module, you should take great pains to make it portable.

use strict is in effect, so you need to use my for any variables, etc.

Code Scanner Details

In source files, things that look like package statements and some special POD are used to infer what test scripts to run. In test scripts, some other special POD and things that look like use or require statements are used to infer what files and packages are being tested. This is only performed if something other than a test script (or directory hierarchy containing test scripts and no source files) are given.

The special POD to be used in source files is:

    =for test_script foo.t bar.t

and for test scripts is

    =for file lib/


    =for package Foo

The =for paragraphs may span more than one line and define whitespace separated lists of items. The filenames in the =for file directive must be relative to the main project directory and not contain ".." names.

The scanning for use, require, and package statements is quite naive, but usually sufficient. Things like POD documentation and multiline strings can fool the scanners, but this is not usually a problem.


--pod, --compile and --tests select each type of tests only, turning the other types off unless they also are selected.

--no-pod, --no-compile and --no-tests turn off each type of testing no matter what.

--compile, -c

Compile the source code (using perl -cw) the POD or run the test scripts unless --pod or --tests is specified, respectively.

--no-compile overrides this option.

-d, --debug

Run test script(s) in NonStop debugging mode using perl -d. The inline breakpoint $DB::single=1; for the debugger is very useful with this option, as in the interrupt (often ^C) key. See perldebug.

NOTE: this runs the test scripts directly using perl -d, since ExtUtils::Command::MM does not offer the ability. Overrides --extutils. Best used with a single test script.

--dd, --debug-stop

Like -d but in "normal" debug mode so the debugger stops at the first line of the test script.

Most useful when running a single script.

-h, -?, --help

Print out full help text (this page).

-n, --dry-run, --just-print, --recon

Print out the make command but don't run it.

--extutils (EXPERIMENTAL)


    perl '-MExtUtils::Command::MM' -e 'test_harness(1,\'lib\')' @scripts

instead of the default "make test" incantation. Useful if you don't have a Makefile.PL. Ignored if -d is used. TODO: This is not compatible across perl and MakeMaker versions; tv needs to check to see what version of MakeMaker it is faced with.

--no-pod, --no-podchecker

Do not run podchecker. Overrides --pod.


Don't test compile the source. Overrides --source.


Don't run test scripts. Overrides --tests.

--pod, --POD

Test the POD; don't test the source or run the test scripts unless --compile or --tests is also specified, respectively.


Instead of using make(1) or ExtUtils, run perl -Ilib t/foo.t. This is the fastest way to run tests, but ASSumes that you place all modules under lib/ (which is often a good idea for other reasons) and that your distribution is pure perl.

--quiet, -q (EXPERIMENTAL)

Only emit "not ok"s for failing tests, don't emit other info.

Using -v will enable printing of the commands being run, so you won't get lonely waiting for output.

TODO: Allow logging to be disabled

TODO: Allow the log file to be renamed

TODO: Print progress thermometers


Like -q, but prints nothing except output after the last test. This is usually a report summary emitted by "make test", but may be error text caused by situations so fatal that they don't allow the tests to be run.

Note that the result code of the first command that does not exit with a 0 value is returned from tv, so

    tv -qq t/foo.t || less -S tv.log "+/^not ok"

is a useful idiom. And, as with -q, -v may also be used to print out what command is being run.


Emit nothing; use the return code to guage test success (assuming the underlying test harness returns sensible return codes as make test does).


Skip testing the POD or the source unless --pod or --source is specified, respectively.

-v, --verbose

Disable any -q, -qq or -qqq options that occur before the -v option on the command line (notably any that are set in a .tvrc file). Has no effect unless one of those options is passed. May be overridden by -q, -qq or -qqq occuring later on the command line. Not settable from a .tvrc file for now.


Turn on tv's internal debugging output (does not affect the test scripts, see the -d option).

See Test::Verbose for more details.


All child stdout and stderr is capture to tv.log.


Folds all test stderr and stdout on to stdout. Yuck.


    Copyright 2002, R. Barrie Slaymaker, Jr.  All Rights Reserved.


You may use this under the terms of any of the BSD, Artistic, or GPL licenses.


    Barrie Slaymaker <>