Term::CallEditor - solicit data from an external editor


  use Term::CallEditor qw/solicit/;

  my $fh = solicit('FOO: please replace this text');
  die "$Term::CallEditor::errstr\n" unless $fh;

  print while readline $fh;


This module calls an external editor via the solicit() function, then returns any data from this editor as a file handle. The environment variables VISUAL and then EDITOR are consulted for a program name to run, otherwise falling back to vi(1). The Text::ParseWords shellwords() function is used to expand the environment variables.

solicit() returns a temporary file handle pointing to what was written in the editor (and also the filename in list context).



solicit() as a second argument accepts a number of optional parameters as a hash reference.

      {   skip_interactive => 1,
          binmode_layer    => ':utf8'

If true, enables binmode on the filehandle prior to writing the message to it.


What to use as the default editor instead of vi(1).


If true, sync() from IO::Handle will not be called. sync() is not called when on Win32, but otherwise is called by default.

binmode_layer => binmode layer

If set, enables binmode on the filehandle prior to writing the message to it.

safe_level => NUMBER

Set a custom safe_level value for the File::Temp method of that name.

skip_interactive => BOOLEAN

If true, solicit skips making a test to see whether the terminal is interactive.

On error, solicit() returns undef. Consult $Term::CallEditor::errstr for details. Note that File::Temp may throw a fatal error if the safe_level checks fail, so paranoid coders should wrap the solicit call in an eval block (or instead use something like Syntax::Keyword::Try).


See also the eg/solicit script under the module distribution.

Pass in a block of text to the editor

Use a here doc:

  my $fh = solicit(<< "END_BLARB");

  FOO: This is an example designed to span multiple lines for
  FOO: the sake of an example that span multiple lines.
Shell Exec Wrapper

A shell exec wrapper may be necessary as a target for EDITOR (or VISUAL) as not all programs that support EDITOR (or VISUAL) perform shell word splitting on the input, and the shellword splitting (now) done by this module may not suffice for complicated shell commands:

  exec youreditor --some-arg "$@"


No known bugs.

Reporting Bugs

Newer versions of this module may be available from CPAN.

If the bug is in the latest version, send a report to the author. Patches that fix problems or add new features are welcome.

Known Issues

This module relies heavily on the Unix terminal, permissions on the temporary directory (for the File::Temp module safe_level call), whether system() can actually run the EDITOR environment variable, and so forth.


vipe(1) of moreutils to use vi(1) in pipes.

  "Most applications treat $VISUAL as a shell snippet that they append
  the (shell-quoted) file name to, but some treat it as the name of an
  executable which they may or may not search in $PATH. So it's best to
  set VISUAL (and EDITOR) to the full path to an executable (which could
  be a wrapper script if you want e.g. options)." -- Gilles


thrig - Jeremy Mates (cpan:JMATES) <jmates at>


Copyright 2004 Jeremy Mates

This program is distributed under the (Revised) BSD License:


Inspired from the CVS prompt-user-for-commit-message functionality.