Test::Manifest - interact with a t/test_manifest file


        # in Makefile.PL
        eval "use Test::Manifest 2.00";

        # in Build.PL
        my $class = do {
                if( eval 'use Test::Manifest 2.00; 1' ) {
                else {

        my $build = $class->new( ... )

        # in the file t/test_manifest, list the tests you want
        # to run in the order you want to run them


Test::Harness assumes that you want to run all of the .t files in the t/ directory in ASCII-betical order during make test or ./Build test unless you say otherwise. This leads to some interesting naming schemes for test files to get them in the desired order. These interesting names ossify when they get into source control, and get even more interesting as more tests show up.

Test::Manifest overrides the default test file order. Instead of running all of the t/*.t files in ASCII-betical order, it looks in the t/test_manifest file to find out which tests you want to run and the order in which you want to run them. It constructs the right value for the build system to do the right thing.

In t/test_manifest, simply list the tests that you want to run. Their order in the file is the order in which they run. You can comment lines with a #, just like in Perl, and Test::Manifest will strip leading and trailing whitespace from each line. It also checks that the specified file is actually in the t/ directory. If the file does not exist, it does not put its name in the list of test files to run and it will issue a warning.

Optionally, you can add a number after the test name in test_manifest to define sets of tests. See get_t_files for more information.


To override the test order behaviour in MakeMaker, Test::Manifest inserts itself in the test_via_harness step by providing its own test runner. In Makefile.PL, all you have to do is load Test::Manifest before you call WriteMakefile. To make it optional, load it in an eval:

        eval "use Test::Manifest";


Overriding parts of Module::Build is tricker if you want to use the subclassing mechanism and still make Test::Manifest optional. If you can load Test::Manifest (version 2.00 or later), Test::Manifest can create the subclass for you.

        my $class = do {
                if( eval 'use Test::Manifest 2.00; 1' ) {
                else {
                        'Module::Build' # if Test::Manifest isn't there

        $class->new( ... );

This is a bit of a problem when you already have your own subclass. Test::Manifest overrides find_test_files, so you can get just that code to add to your own subclass code string:

        my $code = eval 'use Test::Manifest 2.00; 1'

        my $class = Module::Build->subclass(
                code => "$code\n...your subclass code string...",

Class methods


For Module::Build only.

Returns a Module::Build subclass that overrides find_test_files. If you want to have your own Module::Build subclass and still use Test::Manifest, you can get just the code string with get_module_build_code_string.


For Module::Build only.

Returns the overridden find_test_files as Perl code in a string suitable for the code key in Module::Build-subclass()>. You can add this to other bits you are overriding or extending.

See Module::Build::Base::find_test_files to see the base implementation.



For MakeMaker only. You don't have to mess with this at the user level.

Run all of the files in t/test_manifest through Test::Harness:runtests in the order they appear in the file. This is inserted automatically

        eval "use Test::Manifest";
get_t_files( [LEVEL] )

In scalar context it returns a single string that you can use directly in WriteMakefile(). In list context it returns a list of the files it found in t/test_manifest.

If a t/test_manifest file does not exist, get_t_files() returns nothing.

get_t_files() warns you if it can't find t/test_manifest, or if entries start with t/. It skips blank lines, and strips Perl style comments from the file.

Each line in t/test_manifest can have three parts: the test name, the test level (a floating point number), and a comment. By default, the test level is 1.

        test_name.t 2  #Run this only for level 2 testing

Without an argument, get_t_files() returns all the test files it finds. With an argument that is true (so you can't use 0 as a level) and is a number, it skips tests with a level greater than that argument. You can then define sets of tests and choose a set to run. For instance, you might create a set for end users, but also add on a set for deeper testing for developers.

Experimentally, you can include a command to grab test names from another file. The command starts with a ; to distinguish it from a true filename. The filename (currently) is relative to the current working directory, unlike the filenames, which are relative to t/. The filenames in the included are still relative to t/.

        ;include t/file_with_other_test_names.txt

Also experimentally, you can stop Test::Manifest from reading filenames with the ;skip directive. Test::Manifest will skip the filenames up to the ;unskip directive (or end of file):


To select sets of tests, specify the level in the environment variable TEST_LEVEL:

        make test # run all tests no matter the level
        make test TEST_LEVEL=2  # run all tests level 2 and below

Eventually this will end up as an option to Build.PL:

        ./Build test --testlevel=2  # Not yet supported

Creates the test_manifest file in the t directory by reading the contents of the t/ directory.

TO DO: specify tests in argument lists.

TO DO: specify files to skip.


Returns the name of the test manifest file, relative to t/.


This source is in Github:


Matt Vanderpol suggested and supplied a patch for the ;include feature.

Olivier Mengué supplied a documentation patch.


brian d foy, <>


Copyright © 2002-2024, brian d foy <>. All rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the Artistic License 2.0.