Jeremy Mates


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 <$fh>;


This module calls an external editor with an optional text message via the solicit() function, then returns any data from this editor as a file handle. By default, the EDITOR environment variable will be used, otherwise vi.

solicit() returns a temporary file handle pointing to what was written in the editor (or 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.

binmode_layer => binmode layer

If set, enables binmode on the filehandle prior to writing the message to it. Useful if one needs to write UTF-8 or some other encoded data as a message to the EDITOR.

safe_level => NUMBER

Set a custom safe_level value for the File::Temp method of that name. The default safe_level is number 2. Be seeing you.

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.


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.
Support bbedit(1) on Mac OS X

To use BBEdit as the external editor, create a shell script wrapper to call bbedit(1), then set this wrapper as the EDITOR environment variable. The -t option to bbedit(1) can be used to set a custom title, if desired.

  exec bbedit -w "$@"

Any editor that requires arguments will require a wrapper like this.


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.


Jeremy Mates, <>


Copyright 2004-2005,2009-2010,2012 Jeremy Mates

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the Artistic license.


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