Perl::Critic::Policy::ValuesAndExpressions::RequireNumericVersion - $VERSION a plain number


This policy is part of the Perl::Critic::Pulp add-on. It asks you to use a plain number in a module $VERSION so that Perl's builtin version works.

Any literal number is fine, or a string which is a number,

    $VERSION = 123;           # ok
    $VERSION = '1.5';         # ok
    $VERSION = 1.200_001;     # ok

For Perl 5.10 and higher the extra forms of the version module too,

    use 5.010;
    $VERSION = '1.200_001';   # ok for 5.10 up,

But a non-number string is not allowed,

    $VERSION = '1.2alpha';    # bad

The idea of this requirement is that a plain number is needed for Perl's builtin module version checking like the following, and on that basis this policy is under the "bugs" theme (see "POLICY THEMES" in Perl::Critic).

    use Foo 1.0;

A plain number is also highly desirable so applications can do their own compares like

    if (Foo->VERSION >= 1.234) {

In each case if $VERSION is not a number then it provokes warnings, and may end up appearing as a lesser version than intended.

    Argument "1.2.alpha" isn't numeric in subroutine entry

If you've loaded the module then a $VERSION not accepted by will in fact croak, which is an unpleasant variant behaviour.

    use version ();
    print "version ",Foo->VERSION,"\n";
    # croaks "Invalid version format ..." if $Foo::VERSION is bad


This policy only looks at $VERSION in modules. $VERSION in a script can be anything since it won't normally be part of use checks etc. A script $VERSION is anything outside any package statement scope, or under an explicit package main.

    package main;
    $VERSION = '1.5.prerelease';  # ok, script

    $main::VERSION = 'blah';      # ok, script
    $::VERSION = 'xyzzy';         # ok, script

A fully-qualified package name is recognised as belonging to a module,

    $Foo::Bar::VERSION = 'xyzzy'; # bad

Underscores in Perl 5.8 and Earlier

In Perl 5.8 and earlier a string like "1.200_333" is truncated to the numeric part, ie. 1.200, and can thus fail to satisfy

    $VERSION = '1.222_333';   # bad
    use Foo 1.222_331;  # not satisfied by $VERSION='string' form

But an actual number literal with an "_" is allowed. Underscores in literals are stripped out (see perldata), but not in the automatic string to number conversion so a string like $VERSION = '1.222_333' provokes a warning and stops at 1.222.

    $VERSION = 1.222_333;     # ok

On CPAN an underscore in a distribution version number is rated as a developer pre-release. But don't put it in module $VERSION strings due to the problems above. The suggestion is to include the underscore in the distribution filename but either omit it from the $VERSION or make it a number literal not a string,

    $VERSION = 1.002003;    # ok
    $VERSION = 1.002_003;   # ok, but not for VERSION_FROM

ExtUtils::MakeMaker VERSION_FROM will take the latter as its numeric value, ie. "1.002003" not "1.002_003" as the distribution version. For the latter you can either put an explicit VERSION in Makefile.PL

    use ExtUtils::MakeMaker;
    WriteMakefile (VERSION => '1.002_003');

Or you can trick MakeMaker with a string plus eval,

    $VERSION = '1.002_003';    # ok evalled down
    $VERSION = eval $VERSION;

MakeMaker sees the string "1.002_003" but at runtime the eval crunches it down to a plain number 1.002003. RequireNumericVersion notices such an eval and anything in $VERSION. Something bizarre in $VERSION won't be noticed, but that's too unlikely to worry about.

version module in Perl 5.10 up

In Perl 5.10 use etc module version checks parse $VERSION with the module. This policy allows the version module forms if there's an explicit use 5.010 or higher in the file.

    use 5.010;
    $VERSION = '1.222_333';   # ok for 5.10
    $VERSION = '1.2.3';       # ok for 5.10

But this is still undesirable, as an application check like

    if (Foo->VERSION >= 1.234) {

gets the raw string from $VERSION and thus a non-numeric warning and truncation. Perhaps applications should let do the work with say

    if (eval { Foo->VERSION(1.234) }) {

or apply version->new() to one of the args. Maybe another policy to not explicitly compare $VERSION, or perhaps an option to tighten this policy to require numbers even in 5.10?

Exponential Format

Exponential strings like "1e6" are disallowed

    $VERSION = '2.125e6';   # bad

Except with the eval trick as per above

    $VERSION = '2.125e6';   # ok
    $VERSION = eval $VERSION;

Exponential number literals are fine.

    $VERSION = 1e6;         # ok

Exponential strings don't work in Perl 5.10 because they're not recognised by the version module (v0.82). They're fine in Perl 5.8 and earlier, but in the interests of maximum compatibility this policy treats such a string as non-numeric. Exponentials in versions should be unusual anyway.


If you don't care about this policy at all then you can disable from your .perlcriticrc in the usual way (see "CONFIGURATION" in Perl::Critic),


Other Ways to Do It

The version number system with underscores, multi-dots, v-nums, etc is diabolical mess, and each new addition to it just seems to make it worse. Even the original floating point in version checks is asking for rounding error trouble, though normally fine in practice. A radical simplification is to just use integer version numbers.

    $VERSION = 123;

If you want sub-versions then increment by 100 or some such. Even a YYYYMMDD date is a possibility.

    $VERSION = 20110328;


Perl::Critic::Pulp, Perl::Critic

Perl::Critic::Policy::Modules::RequireVersionVar, Perl::Critic::Policy::ValuesAndExpressions::ProhibitComplexVersion, Perl::Critic::Policy::ValuesAndExpressions::RequireConstantVersion

Perl::Critic::Policy::ValuesAndExpressions::ProhibitVersionStrings, Perl::Critic::Policy::Modules::ProhibitUseQuotedVersion



Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 Kevin Ryde

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