Neil Bowers


AppConfig::Std - subclass of AppConfig that provides standard options


    use AppConfig::Std;

    $config = AppConfig::Std->new();

    # all AppConfig methods supported
    $config->define('foo');            # define variable foo
    $config->set('foo', 25);           # setting a variable
    $val = $config->get('foo');        # getting variable
    $val = $config->foo();             # shorthand for getting

    $config->args(\@ARGV);             # parse command-line
    $config->file(".myconfigrc")       # read config file


AppConfig::Std is a Perl module that provides a set of standard configuration variables and command-line switches. It is implemented as a subclass of AppConfig; AppConfig provides a general mechanism for handling global configuration variables.

The features provided by AppConfig::Std are:

  • Standard command-line arguments: -help, -doc, -version, -verbose, and -debug. AppConfig::Std handles the -help, -doc, and -version switches for you, so you don't need to duplicate that code in all of your scripts. These are described below.

  • The ARGCOUNT default is set to 1. This means that by default all switches are expected to take a value. To change this, set the ARGCOUNT parameter when defining the variable:

        $config->define('verbose', { ARGCOUNT => 0 } );

Please read the copious documentation for AppConfig to find out what else you can do with this module.


The module adds five standard configuration variables and command-line switches. You can define additional variables as you would with AppConfig.


The -help switch will result in a short help message. This is generated using Pod::Usage, which displays the OPTIONS section of your pod. The script will exit with an exit value of 0.


The -doc switch will result in the entire documentation being formatted to the screen. This is also done with Pod::Usage. The script will exit with an exit value of 0.


The -version switch will display the version of the invoking script. This assumes that you have defined $VERSION in your script with something like the following:

    use vars qw( $VERSION );
    $VERSION = sprintf("%d.%02d", q$Revision: 1.7 $ =~ /(\d+)\.(\d+)/);

The script will exit with an exit value of 0.


The -debug switch just sets the debug variable. This is useful for displaying information in debug mode:

    $foobar->dump() if $config->debug;


The -verbose switch just sets the verbose variable. This is useful for displaying verbose information as a script runs:

    print STDERR "Running foobar\n" if $config->verbose;


Please let me know if you have ideas for additional switches, or other modifications. Things currently being mulled:

  • Support brief switches, such as -h as well as -help. This could be a config option for the constructor.

  • Include a sample script called mkscript, which would create a template script along with Makefile.PL, MANIFEST, etc. Kinda of a h2xs for scripts.


The following is the outline of a simple script that illustrates use of the AppConfig::Std module:

    #!/usr/bin/perl -w
    use strict;
    use AppConfig::Std;

    use vars qw( $VERSION );
    $VERSION = '1.0';

    my $config = AppConfig::Std->new();

    # parse command-line and handle std switches

    exit 0;


    =head1 NAME

    standard pod format documentation

The pod documentation is expected to have the NAME, SYNOPSIS, DESCRIPTION, and OPTIONS sections. See the documentation for pod2man for more details.


AppConfig - Andy Wardley's module for unifying command-line switches and cofiguration files into the notion of configuration variables. AppConfig::Std requires version 1.52+ of the module, which is available from CPAN.

Pod::Usage - Brad Appleton's module for extracting usage information out of a file's pod. This is used for the -doc and -help switches. Available from CPAN as part of the PodParser distribution.

perlpod - documentation from the perl distribution that describes the pod format.

pod2man - particularly the NOTES section in the documentation which describes the sections you should include in your documentation. AppConfig::Std uses Pod::Usage, which assumes well-formed pod.



Neil Bowers <>


Copyright (c) 2002-2013 Neil Bowers.

Copyright (c) 1998-2001 Canon Research Centre Europe. All rights reserved.

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