Kent Fredric πŸ”₯🐢🍡πŸ”₯


Dist::Zilla::Plugin::Test::Compile::PerFile - Create a single .t for each compilable file in a distribution


version 0.004000


    ; in dist.ini


This module is inspired by its earlier sibling [Test::Compile].

Test::Compile is awesome, however, in the process of its development, we discovered it might be useful to run compilation tests in parallel.

This lead to the realization that implementing said functions are kinda messy.

However, a further realization is, that parallelism should not be codified in the test itself, because platform parallelism is rather not very portable, so parallelism should only be enabled when asked for.

And this lead to the realization that prove and Test::Harness ALREADY implement parallelism, and ALREADY provide a safe way for platforms to indicate parallelism is wanted.

Which means implementing another layer of parallelism is unwanted and unproductive effort ( which may be also filled with messy parallelism-induced bugs )

So, here is the Test::Compile model based on how development is currently proceeding.

      \ ----- 00_compile.t
     |           \ ----- Compile Module 1
     |           \ ----- Compile Module 2
     \ ----- 01_basic.t

That may be fine for some people, but this approach has several fundamental limits:

1. Sub-Tasks of compile don't get load balanced by the master harness.
2. Parallelism is developer side, not deployment side governed.
3. This approach means prove -s will have no impact.
4. This approach means prove -j will have no impact.
5. This approach inhibits other features of prove such as the --state=slow

So this variation aims to employ one test file per module, to leverage prove power.

One initial concern cropped up on the notion of having excessive numbers of perl instances, e.g:

      \ ----- 00_compile/01_Module_1.t
     |           \ ----- Compile Module 1
      \ ----- 00_compile/02_Module_2.t
     |           \ ----- Compile Module 2
     \ ----- 01_basic.t

If we were to implement it this way, we'd have the fun overhead of having to spawn 2 perl instances per module tested, which on Win32, would roughly double the test time and give nothing in return.

However, Most of the reason for having a perl process per compile, was to separate the modules from each other to assure they could be loaded independently.

So because we already have a basically empty compile-state per test, we can reduce the number of perl processes to as many modules as we have.

      \ ----- 00_compile/01_Module_1.t
      \ ----- 00_compile/02_Module_2.t
     \ ----- 01_basic.t

Granted, there is still some bleed here, because doing it like this means you have some modules preloaded prior to compiling the module in question, namely, that Test::* will be in scope.

However, "testing these modules compile without Test:: loaded" is not the real purpose of the compile tests, the compile tests are to make sure the modules load.

So this is an acceptable caveat for this module, and if you wish to be distinct from Test::*, then you're encouraged to use the much more proven [Test::Compile].

Though we may eventually provide an option to spawn additional perl processes to more closely mimic Test::*'s behaviour, the cost of doing so should not be understated, and as this module exist to attempt to improve efficiency of tests, not to decrease them, that would be an approach counter-productive to this modules purpose.



This plugin operates ONLY during gather_files, unlike other plugins which have multiple phase involvement, this only happens at this phase.

The intrinsic dependence of this plugin on other files in your dist, means that in order for it to generate a test for any given file, the test itself must be included after that file is gathered.



optional Bool

    xt_mode = 1

If set, prefix defaults to xt/author/00-compile

Default is NOT SET


optional Str

    prefix = t/99-compilerthingys

If set, sets the prefix path for generated tests to go in.

Defaults to t/00-compile


optional multivalue_arg ArrayRef[Str]

mvp_aliases: files

    file = lib/
    file = lib/
    files = lib/
    file = script/

Specifies the list of source files to generate compile tests for.

If not specified, defaults are populated from the file finder finder


optional multivalue_arg ArrayRef[Str]

    skip = lib/

Specifies the list of source files to skip compile tests for.


optional multivalue_arg ArrayRef[Str]

    finder = :InstallModules

Specifies a FileFinder plugin name to query for a list of files to build compile tests for.

If not specified, a custom one is autovivified, and matches only *.pm in lib/


optional Str

A Name of a routine to translate source paths ( i.e: Paths to modules/scripts that are to be compiled ) into test file names.

Default is base64_filter

Supported Values:

  • base64_filter

    Paths are mangled so that they contain only base64 web-safe elements

    That is to say, if you were building tests for a distribution with this layout:


    That the generated test files will be in the prefix directory named:


    This is the default, but not necessarily the most sane if you have unusual file naming.


    This configuration will not work with this translator.

  • mimic_source

    This is mostly a 1:1 mapping, it doesn't translate source names in any way, other than prefixing and suffixing, which is standard regardless of translation chosen.


    Will emit a prefix directory populated as such


    Indeed, if you had a death wish, you could set prefix = lib and your final layout would be:


    Though this is not advised, and is only given for an example.


Contains the string of the template file you wish to use as a reference point.

Unlike most plugins, which use Data::Section to provide their templates, this plugin uses a File::ShareDir dist_dir to distribute templates.

This means there will always be a predetermined list of templates shipped by this plugin, however, if you wish to modify these templates and store them with a non-colliding name, for your personal convenience, you are entirely free to so.

As such, this field takes as its parameter, the name of any file that happened to be in the dist_dir at compile time.

Provided Templates:

  • 01-basic.t.tpl

    A very basic standard template, which use's Test::More, does a requires_ok($file) for the requested file, and nothing else.

  • 02-raw-require.t.tpl

    A minimalist spartan require_ok implementation, but without using Test::More. Subsequently faster under Test2 and can expose more issues where modules have implicit use

Other Important Differences to Test::Compile

Finders useful, but not required

[Test::Compile::PerFile] supports providing an arbitrary list of files to generate compile tests

    file = lib/
    file = lib/

Using this will supersede using finders to find things.

Single finder only, not multiple

[Test::Compile] supports 2 finder keys, module_finder and script_finder.

This module only supports one key, finder, and it is expected that if you want to test 2 different sets of files, you'll create a separate instance for that:

    -module_finder = Foo
    -script_finder = bar
    +[Test::Compile::PerFile / module compile tests]
    +finder = Foo
    +[Test::Compile::PerFile / script compile tests]
    +finder = bar

This is harder to do with [Test::Compile], because you'd have to declare a separate file name for it to work, where-as [Test::Compile::PerFile] generates a unique file name for each source it tests.

Collisions are still possible, but harder to hit by accident.

File Oriented, not Module Oriented

Under the hood, Test::Compile is really file oriented too, it just doesn't give that impression on the box.

It just seemed fundamentally less complex to deal only in file paths for this module, as it gives no illusions as to what it can, and cannot do.

( For example, by being clearly file oriented, there's no ambiguity of how it will behave when a file name and a module name are miss-matching in some way, by simply not caring about the latter , it will also never attempt to probe and load modules that can't be automatically resolved to files )


A rough comparison on the dzil git tree, with HARNESS_OPTIONS=j4:c where 4 is the number of logical CPUs I have:

    Test::Compile -            Files= 42, Tests=577, 57 wallclock secs ( 0.32 usr  0.11 sys + 109.29 cusr 11.13 csys = 120.85 CPU)
    Test::Compile::PerFile -   Files=176, Tests=576, 44 wallclock secs ( 0.83 usr  0.39 sys + 127.34 cusr 13.27 csys = 141.83 CPU)

So a 20% saving for a 300% growth in file count, a 500k growth in unpacked tar size, and a 4k growth in tar.gz size.

Hmm, that's a pretty serious trade off. Might not really be worth the savings.

Though, comparing compile tests alone:

    # Test::Compile
    prove -j4lr --timer t/00-compile.t
    Files=1, Tests=135, 41 wallclock secs ( 0.07 usr  0.01 sys + 36.82 cusr  3.58 csys = 40.48 CPU)

    # Test::Compile::PerFile
    prove -j4lr --timer t/00-compile/
    Files=135, Tests=135, 22 wallclock secs ( 0.58 usr  0.32 sys + 64.45 cusr  6.74 csys = 72.09 CPU)

That's not bad, considering that although I have 4 logical CPUs, that's really just 2 physical CPUs with hyper-threading ;)


Kent Fredric <>


This software is copyright (c) 2017 by Kent Fredric <>.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.