Adrian Howard


Test::Block - DEPRECIATED: Specify fine granularity test plans


  use Test::More 'no_plan';
  use Test::Block qw($Plan);

      # This block should run exactly two tests
      local $Plan = 2;
      pass 'first test';
      # oops. forgot second test

  SKIP: {
      local $Plan = 3;
      pass('first test in second block');
      skip "skip remaining tests" => $Plan;

  ok( Test::Block->all_in_block, 'all test run in blocks' );
  is( Test::Block->block_count, 2, 'two blocks ran' );

  # This produces...
  ok 1 - first test
  not ok 2 - block expected 2 test(s) and ran 1
  #     Failed test ( at line 6)
  ok 3 - first test in second block
  ok 4 # skip skip remaining tests
  ok 5 # skip skip remaining tests
  ok 6 - all test run in blocks
  ok 7 - two blocks ran
  # Looks like you failed 1 tests of 7.


NOTE: This module was written before subtests existed in TAP and Test::More. These days subtests will probably be a better option for you.

This module allows you to specify the number of expected tests at a finer level of granularity than an entire test script. It is built with Test::Builder and plays happily with Test::More and friends.

If you are not already familiar with Test::More now would be the time to go take a look.

Creating test blocks

Test::Block supplies a special variable $Plan that you can localize to specify the number of tests in a block like this:

    use Test::More 'no_plan';
    use Test::Block qw($Plan);
        local $Plan = 2;
        pass('first test');
        pass('second test');

What if the block runs a different number of tests?

If a block doesn't run the number of tests specified in $Plan then Test::Block will automatically produce a failing test. For example:

        local $Plan = 2;
        pass('first test');
        # oops - forgot second test

will output

    ok 1 - first test
    not ok 2 - block 1 expected 2 test(s) and ran 1

Tracking the number of remaining tests

During the execution of a block $Plan will contain the number of remaining tests that are expected to run so:

        local $Plan = 2;
        diag "$Plan tests to run";
        pass('first test');
        diag "$Plan tests to run";
        pass('second test');
        diag "$Plan tests to run";

will produce

    # 2 tests to run
    ok 1 - first test
    # 1 tests to run
    ok 2 - second test
    # 0 tests to run

This can make skip blocks easier to write and maintain, for example:

    SKIP: {
        local $Plan = 5;
        pass('first test');
        pass('second test');
        skip "debug tests" => $Plan unless DEBUG > 0;
        pass('third test');
        pass('fourth test');
        skip "high level debug tests" => $Plan unless DEBUG > 2;
        pass('fifth test');

Named blocks

To make debugging easier you can give your blocks an optional name like this:

        local $Plan = { example => 2 };
        pass('first test');
        # oops - forgot second test

which would output

    ok 1 - first test
    not ok 2 - block example expected 2 test(s) and ran 1

Test::Block objects

The $Plan is implemented using a tied variable that stores and retrieves Test::Block objects. If you want to avoid the tied interface you can use Test::Block objects directly.

  # create a block expecting 4 tests
  my $block = Test::Block->plan(4);

  # create a named block with two tests
  my $block = Test::Block->plan('test name' => 2);

You create Test::Block objects with the plan method. When the object is destroyed it outputs a failing test if the expected number of tests have not run.


You can find out the number of remaining tests in the block by calling the remaining method on the object.

Test::Block objects overload "" and 0+ to return the result of the remaining method.


Returns Test::Builder object used by Test::Block. For example:

  Test::Block->builder->skip('skip a test');

See Test::Builder for more information.


A class method that returns the number of blocks that have been created. You can use this to check that the expected number of blocks have run by doing something like:

  is( Test::Block->block_count, 5, 'five blocks run' );

at the end of your test script.


Returns true if all tests so far run have been inside the scope of a Test::Block object.

  ok( Test::Block->all_in_block, 'all tests run in blocks' );


None known at the time of writing.

If you find any please let me know by e-mail, or report the problem with



If you are interested in testing using Perl I recommend you visit and join the excellent perl-qa mailing list. See for details on how to subscribe.


You can find users of Test::Block, including the module author, on Feel free to ask questions on Test::Block there.


The CPAN Forum is a web forum for discussing Perl's CPAN modules. The Test::Block forum can be found at


AnnoCPAN is a web site that allows community annotations of Perl module documentation. The Test::Block annotations can be found at


If you think this module should do something that it doesn't (or does something that it shouldn't) please let me know.

You can see my current to do list at, with an RSS feed of changes at


Thanks to chromatic and Michael G Schwern for the excellent Test::Builder, without which this module wouldn't be possible.

Thanks to Michael G Schwern and Tony Bowden for the mails on that sparked the idea for this module. Thanks to Fergal Daly for suggesting named blocks. Thanks to Michael G Schwern for suggesting $Plan. Thanks to Nadim Khemir for feedback and Andreas Koenig for spotting bugs.


Adrian Howard <>

If you can spare the time, please drop me a line if you find this module useful.



A framework for grouping related tests in a test suite


Test::Class is an xUnit testing framework for Perl. It allows you to group tests into methods with independent test plans.


Support module for building test libraries.

Test::Simple & Test::More

Basic utilities for writing tests.

Overview of some of the many testing modules available on CPAN.


Copyright 2003-2006 Adrian Howard, All Rights Reserved.

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