Ilya Zakharevich


CGI::Carp - CGI routines for writing to the HTTPD (or other) error log


    use CGI::Carp;

    croak "We're outta here!";
    confess "It was my fault: $!";
    carp "It was your fault!";   
    warn "I'm confused";
    die  "I'm dying.\n";


CGI scripts have a nasty habit of leaving warning messages in the error logs that are neither time stamped nor fully identified. Tracking down the script that caused the error is a pain. This fixes that. Replace the usual

    use Carp;


    use CGI::Carp

And the standard warn(), die (), croak(), confess() and carp() calls will automagically be replaced with functions that write out nicely time-stamped messages to the HTTP server error log.

For example:

   [Fri Nov 17 21:40:43 1995] I'm confused at line 3.
   [Fri Nov 17 21:40:43 1995] Got an error message: Permission denied.
   [Fri Nov 17 21:40:43 1995] I'm dying.


By default, error messages are sent to STDERR. Most HTTPD servers direct STDERR to the server's error log. Some applications may wish to keep private error logs, distinct from the server's error log, or they may wish to direct error messages to STDOUT so that the browser will receive them.

The carpout() function is provided for this purpose. Since carpout() is not exported by default, you must import it explicitly by saying

   use CGI::Carp qw(carpout);

The carpout() function requires one argument, which should be a reference to an open filehandle for writing errors. It should be called in a BEGIN block at the top of the CGI application so that compiler errors will be caught. Example:

   BEGIN {
     use CGI::Carp qw(carpout);
     open(LOG, ">>/usr/local/cgi-logs/mycgi-log") or
       die("Unable to open mycgi-log: $!\n");

carpout() does not handle file locking on the log for you at this point.

The real STDERR is not closed -- it is moved to SAVEERR. Some servers, when dealing with CGI scripts, close their connection to the browser when the script closes STDOUT and STDERR. SAVEERR is used to prevent this from happening prematurely.

You can pass filehandles to carpout() in a variety of ways. The "correct" way according to Tom Christiansen is to pass a reference to a filehandle GLOB:


This looks weird to mere mortals however, so the following syntaxes are accepted as well:


    ... and so on

Use of carpout() is not great for performance, so it is recommended for debugging purposes or for moderate-use applications. A future version of this module may delay redirecting STDERR until one of the CGI::Carp methods is called to prevent the performance hit.


If you want to send fatal (die, confess) errors to the browser, ask to import the special "fatalsToBrowser" subroutine:

    use CGI::Carp qw(fatalsToBrowser);
    die "Bad error here";

Fatal errors will now be echoed to the browser as well as to the log. CGI::Carp arranges to send a minimal HTTP header to the browser so that even errors that occur in the early compile phase will be seen. Nonfatal errors will still be directed to the log file only (unless redirected with carpout).


1.05 carpout() added and minor corrections by Marc Hedlund <> on 11/26/95.

1.06 fatalsToBrowser() no longer aborts for fatal errors within eval() statements.


Lincoln D. Stein <>. Feel free to redistribute this under the Perl Artistic License.


Carp, CGI::Base, CGI::BasePlus, CGI::Request, CGI::MiniSvr, CGI::Form, CGI::Response