Sagar R. Shah
and 1 contributors


Test::Distribution - perform tests on all modules of a distribution


  $ cat t/01distribution.t
  use Test::More;

        eval {
                require Test::Distribution;
        if($@) {
                plan skip_all => 'Test::Distribution not installed';
        else {
                import Test::Distribution;

  $ make test


When using this module in a test script, it goes through all the modules in your distribution, checks their POD, checks that they compile ok and checks that they all define a $VERSION.

This module also performs a numer of test on the distribution itself. It checks that your files match your SIGNATURE file if you have one. It checks that your distribution isn't missing certain 'core' description files. It checks to see you havent' missed out listing any pre-requisites in Makefile.PL.

It defines its own testing plan, so you usually don't use it in conjunction with other Test::* modules in the same file. It's recommended that you just create a one-line test script as shown in the SYNOPSIS above. However, there are options...

NOTE If you do not specify any options Test::Distribution will run all test types except signature testing which must always be explicitly switched on.

In the future I may change the default to run no tests at all as this sounds safer. Mail me if you disagree.


On the line in which you use() this module, you can specify named arguments that influence the testing behavior.

tests => NUMBER

Specifies that in addition to the tests run by this module, your test script will run additional tests. In other words, this value influences the test plan. For example:

  use Test::Distribution tests => 1;
  use Test::More;
  is($foo, $bar, 'baz');

It is important that you don't specify a tests argument when using Test::More or other test modules as the plan is handled by Test::Distribution.

DEPRECATED FEATURE. I plan to remove this in the future unless I'm contacted by someone that says they find this useful.


Specifies that only certain sets of tests are to be run. Possible values are those mentioned in TEST TYPES below. For example, if you only want to run the POD tests, you could say:

  use Test::Distribution only => 'pod';

To specify that you only want to run the POD tests and the use tests, and also that you are going to run two tests of your own, use:

  use Test::Distribution
    only  => [ qw/pod use/ ],
    tests => 2;

Note that when you specify the versions option, the use option is automatically added. This is because in order to get a module's $VERSION, it has to be loaded. In this case we might as well run a use test.

The value for only can be a string or a reference to a list of strings.


Specifies that certain types of tests should not be run. All tests not mentioned in this argument are run. For example, if you want to test everything except the POD, use:

  use Test::Distribution
    not => 'pod';

The value for not can be a string or a reference to a list of strings. Although it doesn't seem to make much sense, you can use both only and not. In this case only the tests specified in only, but not not are run (if this makes any sense).


If you test this to a true value, as well as testing that each module has a $VERSION defined, Test::Distribution will also ensure that the $VERSION matches that of the distribution.


You can set this to be a hash reference of options to pass to Test::Pod::Coverage's pod_coverage_ok method (which in turn gets passed to Pod::Coverage.


Here is a description of the types of tests available.


Checks that the following files exist:

Changes or ChangeLog
Build.PL or Makefile.PL

Checks whether all use()d modules that aren't in the perl core are also mentioned in Makefile.PL's PREREQ_PM.


Checks for POD errors in files


Checks for Pod Coverage


If the distribution has a SIGNATURE file, checks the SIGNATURE matches the files.


This use()s the modules to make sure the load happens ok.


Checks that all packages define $VERSION strings.


There are a few subroutines to help you see what this module is doing. Note that these subroutines are neither exported nor exportable, so you have to call them fully qualified.


This is a list of packages that have been found. That is, we assume that each file contains a package of the name indicated by the file's relative position. For example, a file in blib/lib/Foo/ is expected to be available via use Foo::Bar.


This is a list of files that tests have been run on. The filenames are relative to the distribution's root directory, so they start with blib/lib.


This is the number of tests that this module has run, based on your specifications.


This module uses Module::Build for its installation. To install this module type the following:

  perl Build.PL
  ./Build test
  ./Build install

If you do not have Module::Build type:

  perl Makefile.PL

to fetch it. Or use CPAN or CPANPLUS and fetch it "manually".


This module requires these other modules and libraries:


This module has these optional dependencies:


If Module::CoreList is missing, the prereq tests are skipped.

If Test::Pod is missing, the pod tests are skipped.


Just because these items are in the todo list, does not mean they will actually be done. If you think one of these would be helpful say so - and it will then move up on my priority list.

  • Module::Build support [currently waiting for a fix on Test::Prereq ]


export test type

This would mandate that there should be a test for each exported symbol of each module.

Let me know what you think of these ideas. Are they necessary? Unnecessary? Do you have feature requests of your own?


To report a bug or request an enhancement use CPAN's excellent Request Tracker.


This source is part of a SourceForge project which always has the latest sources in svn.


Marcel Grünauer <>

Sagar R. Shah


This module was inspired by a journal entry by brian d foy (see where he describes an idea by Andy Lester.


Copyright 2002-2003 Marcel Grünauer. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2003-2007, Sagar R. Shah, All rights reserved.

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


perl(1), ExtUtils::Manifest(3pm), File::Find::Rule(3pm), Module::CoreList(3pm), Test::More(3pm), Test::Pod(3pm), Test::Pod::Coverage(3pm), Test::Signature(3pm).